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Easy angling in Central Oregon

Several local sites provide easy access to quality fishing


I came across an interesting and informative booklet the other day for those either new to fishing or those looking for a place to take the whole family. It lists several lakes, ponds and streams selected with families and newcomers in mind.

These locations are either close to towns or easy to reach by car, offer a good chance to catch fish using simple fishing techniques, often have picnic tables and restroom, and have relatively simple fishing regulations.

The booklet lists 11 places to try your luck at catching some trout as well as warmwater fish such as bass, crappie, bluegill, sunfish and bullhead. Here are a few of the locations you might want to check out.by: SCOTT STAATS SPECIAL TO THE CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Walton Lake is stocked throughout the summer and provides good opportunities to catch some tasty trout.

South Twin Lake

Located on the Deschutes National Forest, South Twin Lake is a great lake for family fishing, swimming and picnicking. The lake covers about 100 acres and has 1.5 miles of shoreline with lots of opportunities for bank fishing. North Twin Lake, located nearby, also has plenty of fishable shoreline. June is usually the best time to fish these lakes, which are stocked with catchable rainbow trout from May to June.

Anglers have best luck with PowerBait, but spinners, small lures and flies also catch fish. Try fishing within 30 feet of the shore and in the top 30 feet of water. Larger fish may cruise the shallows in the early morning and dusk. Float tube fishing is popular at the lakes.

There’s a National Forest campground nearby with boat ramp, drinking water, picnic tables, fire grates and flush toilets. Twin Lakes Resort has rental cabins, RV park with full hook ups, showers, laundry, restaurant and rental boats.

Getting there: From Bend, head south on Hwy 46 (Century Drive). Take Wickiup Reservoir turn off (County Rd 42) east. The road to Twin Lakes is one mile past the Deschutes River crossing.

Three Creeks Lake

Located at 6,500 feet, this alpine lake is a great place to canoe and enjoy spectacular scenery while trying your luck at catching some nice trout. Motorized boats are prohibited on the lake.

The lake is stocked with 8- to 12-inch rainbow trout and holdovers from the previous year can reach 20 inches. There are also naturally-reproducing brook trout. Since the water is so clear, it’s best to fish in the mornings and evenings. Most lake fishing techniques can be effective. Cast spinners from the shore near the dam at the northeast end of the lake or try using bait in deeper water at the south end.

There are two National Forest campgrounds with picnic areas. Three Creeks Resort has boat rentals and a small store. There is also a swimming area at the south campground.

Getting there: From Sisters, turn south onto USFS Rd 16 (Three Creeks Lake Rd) for 15 miles. The road is paved to within ½ mile of the lake and the last half mile is rough, gravel road.

Walton Lakeby: SCOTT STAATS SPECIAL TO THE CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The Prineville Youth Fishing Pond is a great place to teach kids how to fish.

Walton Lake is a popular 25-acre reservoir located at 5,150 feet in the Ochoco National Forest. The lake is open year-round and has plenty of shoreline fishing. Boats with electric motors are permitted, but canoes and float tubes are more popular. There is also a wheelchair accessible platform with a paved path.

The lake is frequently stocked with catchable rainbow trout throughout the summer. Most anglers have luck using PowerBait suspended beneath a bobber, while others cast lures such as spinners and spoons. Fly-fishing can also be effective. The lake has a campground and boat ramp.

Getting there: Walton Lake is approximately 35 miles east of Prineville. From Prineville take Hwy 26 East (Ochoco Hwy) for 15 miles, bear fight on USFS Rd 12 and travel 13 miles to Ochoco Ranger Station. From here the lake is 7 miles northeast of the Ranger Station on USFS Rd 22.

Prineville Youth Pond

This small one-acre pond was built in 2009 in order to provide a convenient opportunity for local kids to learn how to fish. The pond is open year-round to youths 17 years old and younger, but only youths between ages 14 and 17 need a juvenile fishing license. There is a two fish per day limit and an 8-inch minimum length for trout.

When the water is cooler, anglers should target stocked rainbow trout. As the waters warm up in the summer, largemouth bass will become the primary target. Use baits suspended beneath a bobber, cast lures such as spinners and spoons or try fly-fishing.

Getting there: The Prineville Youth Pond is located in Rimrock Park at 843 SW Main Street. Parking is available on the west side of Main Street after passing Lynn Blvd; or directly next to the Crook County Christian School and across from the Crook County Fairgrounds. To get to the pond, use the iron bridge to cross the Crooked River in Rimrock Park.

Tackle

The booklet also covers a simple list of necessary fishing gear - enough to go fishing just about anywhere you might find fish. Here’s what ODFW suggests:

*A lightweight 5- to 6-foot spin-casting or spinning rod with matching reel and 4- 6-pound monofilament line.

*Package of size 8 bait hooks.

*Couple of small plastic bobbers.

*Jar of PowerBait or PowerEggs.

*A package of #5 non-lead split shot.

*Worms.

*A handful of 1/16 oz. spinners.

To learn more about what techniques to use for lakes, ponds and rivers, stop by ODFW and pick up a booklet. The publication is sponsored by ODFW’s Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program with assistance from the Salmon Trout Enhancement Program.

Now that school’s out and summer has officially started, why not take the kids out and teach them how to fish. Besides, doesn’t trout in the fry pan sound good?

Scott Staats is a freelance outdoor writer. His column can be read every Tuesday in the Central Oregonian. He can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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