Rock Creek Reservoir offers excellent seasonal fishing for stocked rainbow trout as well as fair fishing for warmwater species.
The small reservoir, just a little over 100 acres at full pool, is located on the eastern edge of the Mt. Hood National Forest, west of Tygh Valley and south of Hood River and The Dalles.
Rock Creek is most notable to anglers during the early spring, which is when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks the reservoir with plenty of hatchery raised rainbow trout.
The agency often plants 8,000 or more trout here. Most of those will be pan-sized legals running 8-10 inches in length, but a fair number will be ODFW’s significantly larger “trophy” rainbows. Also, a few dozen are likely to be giant brood trout, which can be 10 pounds or more and have line-busting strength during battle.
Stocking starts early here compared to many Central Oregon waters, perhaps as early as late March and continuing several times through April and possibly a little after.
At an elevation of 4,600 feet, it will still be quite cold up here in the spring, so come prepared for potentially frigid weather.
The early season is by far your best bet because the reservoir was built to impound water for irrigation and will be full or fairly close to it in the spring.
However, once the hotter weather of summer arrives the water is typically drawn down pretty severely. If you find a Google aerial map taken late in the year, it will show a whole bunch of bare bank and only a little bit of water. But when it’s full, its shoreline is lined with forest and it’s a pretty spot to be.
Plus, most of the trout stocked in the spring will have been caught by the middle of summer.
There can be fair fishing for largemouth bass and bluegill here in addition to the main trout fishery.
There is excellent bank access at Rock Creek Reservoir.
The boat launch is best suited for smaller boats, and once the water level drops enough only boats you can carry to water’s edge will be worth bringing here.
The U.S. Forest Service’s Rock Creek Campground offers overnight stays right on the reservoir.
It’s a little more than a two-hour drive from the Portland area, either via Highway 26 over Mount Hood or through the Columbia River Gorge and then southwest from The Dalles.
Pine Hollow Reservoir, a larger impoundment less than 20 minutes away, offers similar fishing opportunities for trout and warmwater fish but holds up longer and also has excellent fall fishing for trout.