Editor’s note: At last check, PGE now reports the lake is closed but will reopen in 2024. Be sure to check the PGE website because, honestly, this project has been a moving target!
Looking for an easy place to sit back on the bank and catch a limit of rainbow trout for dinner, even during the dog days of summer?
Even better if it’s less than an hour away from most of the Portland area, right?
Faraday Lake might be just the ticket.
The small reservoir near Estacada is generously stocked with pan-sized keeper rainbow trout starting in the latter part of May and typically continuing through late summer.
Just 25 acres in size, Faraday is part of Portland General Electric’s hydropower complex on the Clackamas River.
Other fishing waters in the complex are North Fork Reservoir upstream and Estacada Lake downstream. Unlike those two reservoirs, Faraday typically is open to fishing year-round, but catches will be best during the planting season. (This schedule was disrupted for several years during the reconstruction of the powerhouse at this hydroelectric dam.)
Only these hatchery-reared trout may be harvested here. Hatchery trout have a clipped and healed adipose fin, that fleshy little fin that on a wild fish is on the top between the tail and large dorsal fin.
No boats (not even your float tube) are allowed at Faraday, so make your fishing plans accordingly.
Faraday Lake is just about a mile east past Estacada just off Highway 224.
It’s located at the Westside Hydroelectric Project plant at Faraday Dam. Once on the property, park near the footbridge that leads across the river and over to the reservoir.
Bait fishing is the most common method used to catch hatchery trout. Baits, including Berkley PowerBait, nightcrawlers, salmon eggs and scented marshmallows all will catch trout here.
If you prefer a more active fishing style, try casting and retrieving lures such as Kastmaster and Thomas Buoyant spoons or Rooster Tail or Mepps spinners.
Fly anglers also will be able to catch trout here, where they can find room to cast safely from the bank. Stocked rainbows are not typically that picky. If nothing is happening on the surface, try slowly stripping in a wooly bugger or similar pattern.
Faraday Lake is only another mile after leaving Estacada. Heading up the Clackamas River (to the southeast), turn right on E. Faraday Road and follow signs to the public parking area.
It’s a short walk to the open fishing areas from there. Access includes some fishing docks and barrier-free angling spots.
See Portland General Electric’s Faraday Lake page for additional information.
2024 Faraday Lake Stocking Schedule
For more about trout-fishing methods, try: Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.