This is a fair-sized Mercer Lake on the north side of Florence is a really good largemouth bass fishing lake you may never have heard of.
Some largemouth bass anglers quietly consider Mercer to be as good as the far better-known Siltcoos Lake not very far south of here.
Mercer also can be good for yellow perch and bullhead catfish and seasonally for stocked rainbow trout. There are some sunfish here as well that are easy to catch when you find them.
This is a good-sized lake, listed at 341 acres, but much of it is surrounded by private property, so bank access is limited.
A good place to start whether you have a boat or not is Mercer Lake County Park on the southeaster side of the lake, off Mercer Lake Road. It’s a fairly small park with day-use area, restrooms and simple facilities. There is a bit of bank access there but launching a boat will get you pretty much anywhere in the lake, which is a big advantage here. There also is the private Mercer Lake Resort.
With a boat, you can poke around the long Dowell and Dahlin arms and many small coves and points around the lake. There are standing and fallen trees around the shoreline, as well as a fair number of docks, that add to the potential cover for bass and panfish.
Bass, in particular, love cover and will hide around structures to ambush prey such as smaller fish and crayfish. Lures fished in those areas that imitate their prey can be effective.
If you’re wondering what lakes are rated the best for largemouth bass, read our Best Largemouth Bass Fishing in Western Oregon.
Trout fishing can be fair to good here during the spring, probably around March and April, when it is likely to get a total of 2,000 to 3,000 hatchery trout for the season. Often the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plants its larger-sized “trophy” trout here, which put on a good fight and make a bigger meal than typical legal trout.
Mercer Lake is only about 15 minutes from downtown Florence. From Highway 101, drive east on Mercer Lake Road to reach the county park.