Triangle Lake is a picturesque natural lake tucked into Oregon’s Coast Range mountains and offering a variety of fishing opportunities, ranging from darned good bass and warmwater angling to a surprising spot to catch kokanee.
Triangle Lake, both the lake and a lakeside community of the same name, is located along Oregon Highway 36, less than an hour west of Eugene. It’s a similar distance inland from the Oregon Coast at Florence.
The 279-acre lake is fed by Lake Creek, a major tributary of the Siuslaw River that also has a fishery in its own right, particularly for winter steelhead.
Highway 36, also known Mapleton-Junction City Highway, curves around the western half of the lake, which indeed is shaped roughly like a triangle. That side is developed with lakeside homes and a few businesses.
The eastern shoreline of the lake, away from the road, is mostly undeveloped.
Bass and Panfish
Largemouth bass do well here, and they often can be found around cover ranging from manmade docks for many of the homes to shoreline weeds and submerged trees in the wilder parts.
Anglers also tend to catch good numbers of sunfish, yellow perch and bullhead catfish, all of which like natural baits.
Bluegill to fair size can often be caught in impressive numbers here. They are often found in shallow water around weeds, willows and under docks, especially in the summertime, and fall easy prey to a worm suspended under a bobber.
Perch and catfish also like worms and other natural baits and tend to be less oriented toward structures. At times, perch in particular can be found schooled up in deeper water.
Trout and Kokanee
Triangle Lake does not appear on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s stocking schedule for hatchery-reared rainbow trout, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t trout here.
However, the trout you’ll find in these waters are native cutthroat trout, which provide a steady but not high-volume fishery in the lake.
Cutthroats, which spawn in Lake Creek and other tributaries, can reach into the upper teens for length and be aggressive biters with lures, flies and natural baits.
What’s of more interest to many anglers re the kokanee, a land-locked sockeye salmon that reach pan-sized and are feisty fighters and excellent eating.
In Oregon, kokanee are more common in high-mountain lakes or at least lakes fed by cold-running streams, typically in the Cascade Mountains or farther east.
Finding kokanee as far west as Triangle Lake isn’t common, but the lake dips down to 90 feet at its deepest and provides the kind of cool, clean water that kokanee need to survive, which they do very well here.
Kokanee are often caught by trolling small lures such as Wedding Ring spinners, Dick Nite spoons or similar lures. Some anglers tip the hooks with bait.
In the summer, when kokanee are in the deepest reaches of the lake, you’ll need either a good amount of weight or, better yet, good down riggers, to reach these fish.
Jigging also can be effective for anglers who can precisely target these schooling fish.
Find more good kokanee fishing spots here.
Both trout and kokanee are counted under the trout bag limit here.
What you can’t count take are coho salmon, which rear in the Siuslaw system and the juveniles pass through the lake.
These smolts are likely to be on the small side of dinner anyway, but know the difference between the keepable kokanee and trout and the coho that must be released. Trout have plenty of spots, so that’s one giveaway.