Lemolo Lake is a medium-sized reservoir capable of putting out jumbo-sized brown trout as well as good numbers of rainbow trout and kokanee.
Lemolo is located in the upper drainage of the North Umpqua River in Oregon’s beautiful Cascade Mountain Range, with snowy mountains looming in view beyond its forested shores.
Lemolo is just a dozen or so miles north of the famous rainbow trout mecca of Diamond Lake, so it makes a great twofer destination with its potential for big browns and the kokanee, which are pan-sized landlocked sockeye salmon.
The non-native German browns are the trophy fishery here. Brown trout feed on other fish, such as smaller trout, kokanee and tui chubs, and often are caught on large lures or flies that imitate their prey. (Note that it is unlawful to use live fish for bait in Oregon, an illegal practice that has resulted in harmful non-native fish infestations in several Oregon lakes, including Diamond.)
Try trolling or casting these lures, especially early and late in the day (during legal fishing times) because brown trout are low-light and night-time feeders.
A young angler caught a brown trout from Lemolo roughly a decade ago that may have bested Oregon’s brown trout record (caught in Paulina Lake), had the angler not released it to fight another day. The lake is featured along with Paulina Lake and other hot spots in our article about Oregon’s best trophy brown trout lakes.
While browns are the wall-hangers, rainbow trout are the volume fishery here, the one you’re most likely to catch for dinner.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks Lemolo with ample numbers of rainbow trout each year. The majority, roughly 10,000 many years, are planted during the spring months (often April and May), and the fishing holds up well into the early summer.
Fishing tends to wane a little in the heat, but trout are catchable all summer. Later, check the fish-stocking schedule or weekly recreation report because Lemolo is likely to be stocked again with a modest number of rainbows, perhaps just before the Labor Day weekend. These late arrivals may be larger trout ODFW describes as “trophy” rainbows. They are fat and sassy on the end of a line.
Rainbows are easily caught using bait such as PowerBait, nightcrawlers, salmon eggs or other options. Casting lures and flies will catch them as well. Boaters often like to troll with various types of lures or bait, sometimes pulling their offering behind a dodge or set of flashers to help attract the fish.
If you’re learning to fish for trout or need a refresher, try this article.
Trollers also account for many of the kokanee catches here. Kokanee anglers like trolling smaller lures, including Wedding Ring spinners and little hootchies. Jig fishing also can be very effective if you can park your boat over a school of kokanee.
This is a modest kokanee fishery compared to some of Oregon’s best kokanee lakes, including a few within a fairly reasonable drive, but these small salmon are feisty and tasty and count as trout in your daily limit.
Access is quite good here, whether you’re fishing from the bank or a boat. There are three boat ramps and multiple Forest Service campgrounds both at and in the vicinity of the lake and upper North Umpqua.
The lake is open for fishing year round. However, at over 4,000 feet in elevation, winters can be pretty snowy here and access to the water during winter can be tougher and the bite tends to slow down. In fact, snowmobiling is a very popular wintertime activity here, if that tells you anything.
Lemolo Lake Resort has various kinds of lodging as well as supplies, boat rentals and more. They also can give you current info; call them at 541-957-8354 for things such as weather and road conditions and a fishing report. FYI, the resort recently changed hands and is now a KOA.
Lemolo Lake is located about an hour and a half from Roseburg, reached by traveling up the North Umpqua River on Highway 138 before following signs via Forest Service roads north to the lake for the final 6 miles or so.
Lemolo Lake is also among the good fishing destinations near Crater Lake National Park.