Lake Simtustus is a long, narrow and deep reservoir on the Deschutes River located immediately below Lake Billy Chinook in Central Oregon.
The seven-mile hydroelectric re-regulating reservoir is most often fished for rainbow trout, which at times have been planted in the reservoir in good numbers.
You also might catch kokanee and brown and bull trout that tend to drop down from the more popular Lake Billy Chinook, one of the region’s premier fishing destinations.
The rainbow and brown trout may be retained as part of a daily limit under typical state regulations. Bull trout may no longer be retained here and must be released unharmed.
The reservoir also is home to smallmouth and largemouth bass, which often can be found in coves and around rocks and other structures.
The reservoir currently is open all year, with the best fishing usually in the spring, summer and early fall. You need a tribal permit from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to fish the reservoir, which borders the reservation and is named for a tribal member.
Boat fishing is best here, with limited opportunities for bank angling. You can launch at Portland General Electric’s Pelton Park, which provides the best public access. Lake Simtustus Resort also offers facilities and reservoir access for guests.
Lake Simtustus is less than 20 minutes west of Madras and easily reached via Highway 26 or 97. It is a little more than an hour’s drive north of Bend and nearly two and a half hours from Portland.