This 680-acre lake right in Lincoln City offers good seasonal trout fishing for stocked rainbows and moderate angling opportunities for various bass and panfish species.
Private homes nearly encircle the naturally shallow coastal lake, and non-angling forms of boating, ranging from kayaks and stand-up paddle boards to powerboats and Jet Skis, are very popular in this busy beach town.
I can say from experience you may want to get an early start to avoid some of the activity.
I’ve fished it from both bank and boat, with decent success for springtime trout but only modest success casting for bass.
(Editor’s note: We have you covered if you’re actually looking for information about fishing at Devils Lake in Central Oregon.)
For anglers, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks generous numbers of hatchery-reared rainbow trout in several plantings during the early season, typically beginning in March and continuing into mid-spring.
ODFW also has frequently sponsored an annual springtime family fishing event at the lake, typically based at Regatta Park on the lake’s southwest shore, reached from Northeast West Devils Lake Road.
The agency often will put some fish into a net pen at the park to greatly improve the odds for young anglers and then release the remaining fish into the lake after the event.
Fishing event or not, the park is a good place to begin all of your trout-fishing trips, thanks to a large fishing dock, a boat launch, and typical park amenities for a nice day trip.
Trout fishing will be best in the days and weeks following trout stocking, but the lake stays cool enough for some of the fish to hold over longer and grow to larger sizes.
A few fish can be caught year-round, with trolling a frequent go-to tactic that covers more area, but you’ll definitely have to work at it outside of the stocking season.
Bait fishing is the most popular way to catch freshly stocked trout, but they also will hit artificial lures and flies. (More detail: Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.)
ODFW only stocks trout with a clipped adipose fin, the fleshy fin located on the top rear portion of the fish in front of the tail. These clipped areas are healed on stocked fish.
Trout, including native cutthroat trout and other salmonids that don’t have these healed fin clips, must be released unharmed.
Young wild coho salmon rear in the lake before making the extraordinarily short journey of a few hundred feet to the ocean via D River, sometimes touted as the shortest river in the world as it basically flows from the south end of the lake visible on the east side of Highway 101 to the Pacific Ocean on the west side.
Some anglers may confuse the silvery young coho, which reach pan-sized before migrating to saltwater, with either trout or with kokanee (landlocked sockeye salmon).
Kokanee are an excellent gamefish found across Oregon, but they aren’t in Devil’s Lake.
Bass and Panfish
With all those private docks, not to mention lily pads, other aquatic plants and additional structures such as pilings and tree branches, Devil’s Lake really looks like a prime bass lake.
Unfortunately, in this regard, it looks better than it is. (Look here for Western Oregon’s Best Largemouth Bass Fishing.)
Anglers old enough to remember the lake before grass carp were planted might remember a much better bass fishery but a far weedier and murkier water.
However, it’s still worthwhile if you like bass fishing and will be in this area. Anglers occasionally report fair catches of decent-sized largemouth bass, and there are lots of fun structures to fish.
Before you go, brush up on your bass fishing techniques and tips.
Besides largemouth bass, Devil’s Lake has the usual assortment of warm-water fish species, including fair numbers of yellow perch and bullhead catfish, which tend to run small but can be good eating.
Bluegill and crappie may show in your catch as well.
Devil’s Lake is also home to an unusual fish species for Oregon, the grass carp.
This sterilized native of Asia was planted years ago because the lake had notoriously heavy weeds in the warm season. While that made for a fertile lake for the bass, locals and tourists wanted a cleaner lake.
The grass carp have largely cleared up the murkiest aquatic vegetation, and more tend to be planted whenever the weeds start making a comeback.
The grass carp are protected here and must always be released unharmed. You wouldn’t want to eat one anyway.
Anglers occasionally snag them, usually on accident, as happened with me while tossing a crankbait some years back.
They can top 20 pounds and put up a big fight on light trout or bass gear, especially when snagged across the back or tail as I did on accident when a big one cruised in front of my retrieve.
The lake also has occasional issues with blue-green algae blooms, which can be toxic.
Watch for warnings to limit contact with the water during blooms from the Oregon Health Authority. These are most common when the lake is at its warmest in the summer and fall.
Access and Camping
Besides Regatta Park, another good access point is East Devil’s Lake State Park, immediately across the lake and accessible off Northeast East Devils Lake Road. This is a day-use area and has a good boat launch and a bit of bank access.
There is also a campground at Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area on the southern edge of the lake, just off Highway 101 behind the city’s cultural center, and tons of motels and other overnight accommodations in town.
West and East Devils Lake roads offer the best public access to the lake for day use.
Both of these roads connect to Highway 101 on the north side of the lake as you’re coming into Lincoln City from the Portland area or the north coast.
On the south side, you’ll find Regatta Park and West Devils Lake Road by driving east for about three minutes on Northeast 14th Street.
You can reach East Devils Lake Road directly from Highway 101 at the outlet malls.
2024 Devil’s Lake Trout Stocking