Fishing at Olalla Reservoir

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This smallish reservoir tucked into the Coast Range hills above Newport is generously stocked with hatchery rainbow trout in the early season and has a decent warmwater fishery for resident bass and panfish. It also is known as Olalla Creek Reservoir and is about 100 acres in size.

Expect the most angling attention during the trout-stocking season, which often begins here in the late winter and continues until around Memorial Day. Good numbers of fish are planted here, usually once or twice a month during that time frame. Trout fishing is best in the days and few weeks after a planting, as these fish get caught quickly.

A good number of the trout stocked at Olalla are the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s so-called “trophy” trout, a significantly larger fish than the legal pan-sized trout also stocked here. These bigger fish put up a great fight and are a generous size for eating. Check the trout-stocking link below for both the timing of trout plants and the size of fish scheduled to be released.

The usual bait-fishing methods will catch fish here, as will casting lures and flies. Trolling from a small electricity- or human-powered craft is also a good bet. (More detail: Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.)

Trout fishing will fade later into June, following the final stocking of spring and the warming of the reservoir. However, this is the time of year when largemouth bass and other warm water species are most active and tend to bite the best.

Overall, Olalla Reservoir is fair for bass and panfish. Its coves and points, some with sunken timber, provide cover for decent numbers of largemouth bass, some to reasonable size.

The lake also has yellow perch, bullhead catfish and sunfish, all of which can be fun to catch with a smallish hook baited with a worm and fished on the bottom.

To reach Olalla Creek Reservoir from Newport, take Highway 20 east beyond Yaquina Bay. Just past Toledo, take Olalla Road about three miles north to the reservoir. It’s less than 20 minutes driving from Newport and half that from Toledo. From the other direction, Olalla is just under an hour’s drive west from Corvallis (home of Oregon State University).

Once at the reservoir, you’ll find bank access around the dam and boat launch areas. There also are picnic tables, and it’s a pleasant place to spend a day. The small boat ramp will allow you to launch small watercraft with electric motor or oars (no gasoline motors are allowed here), giving you very good access to the full lake, which is popular with kayakers and other quiet watercraft users in addition to anglers.

Georgia-Pacific owns the reservoir and has generously allowed public access, so ODFW stocks it for public use. However, the company has occasionally closed the lake to public access, typically in the late summer or early fall during very dry years, when extremely low water conditions have resulted in dangerous conditions along its steep banks. Access is usually not a problem in late winter through mid-summer, when fishing is better anyway, but check the weekly recreation link below to make sure there aren’t any unusual conditions that will affect your trip.

Resources
ODFW trout stocking schedule
ODFW weekly recreation report and regulation updates
ODFW annual fishing regulations
National Weather Service forecasts

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