Note: At last update in early 2021, the lake was “closed indefinitely” due to recovery efforts following the devastating 2020 fire season. Definitely check ahead for access, fishing and camping information before planning a trip here. Here’s PGE’s update page.
This is a small but popular reservoir for trout fishing in the upper Clackamas River drainage, about an hour and a half’s drive from Portland.
Harriet, located about a 15 minutes from the Ripplebrook Ranger Station on the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River, is well-stocked with hatchery rainbow trout from mid-spring (usually by April and definitely by May) and periodically until just before Labor Day.
Rainbow trout fishing will be best within a week or two after the hatchery truck unloads.
Harriet is a frequent recipients of trophy-sized hatchery rainbow trout, so don’t be too surprised if you hook into something large.
Speaking of large, Harriet also is known as perhaps the closest place to Portland where you might catch a trophy-sized brown trout.
These non-native fish were first stocked in the area early in the last century and now are self-sustaining in the reservoir, where they move in and out from the Oak Grove Fork above.
Most browns here are modest in size but wily lunkers are present.
For more on where to catch lunker browns, read Best Trophy Brown Trout Fishing Lakes in Oregon.
You may also find some brook trout, another nonnative species, in Harriet. These fish tend to run smaller and are more prevalent upstream in the Oak Grove Fork.
In rivers in this zone, you can keep both of these nonnative species in any number or size, but lake regulations aren’t so generous and they count along with other species in the trout bag limit.
The usual approaches will catch trout at Harriet, including baits such as salmon eggs and PowerBait and lures such as Mepps and Rooster Tail spinners.
If you need more details on how to catch trout, start with our article Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.
Brown trout often eat smaller fish, so lures that imitate their prey should work here as they do elsewhere.
Regular Harriet anglers have reported on Oregon Fishing Forum also report good success using flies, such as hare’s ear nymphs and woolly buggers.