Lake in the woods
Southeast Zone

Easy Angling Oregon - Southeast Zone

Wide open spaces, wild windy places, and extreme temperatures characterize Oregon’s largest, most remote fishing zone. Scarcity makes water especially precious here, providing welcome oases in an often rugged, but spectacular landscape. Rainbow trout are native to its streams, including the Williamson, Malheur and Chewaucan rivers. And stocked rainbow and brown trout grow to trophy size in many of its lakes and reservoirs.

 

Table of Contents

Part 1: Easy Angling Oregon - An Introduction
Part 2: Easy Angling Oregon - Northwest Zone
Part 3: Easy Angling Oregon - Southwest Zone
Part 4: Easy Angling Oregon - Willamette Zone
Part 5: Easy Angling Oregon - Central Zone
Part 6: Easy Angling Oregon - Southeast Zone (you are here)
Part 7: Easy Angling Oregon - Northeast Zone

 

17 great places for families to fish in southeastern Oregon

Featured Waters:

map of southeastern Oregon

  • Lake of the Woods
  • Willow Valley Reservoir
  • Gerber Reservoir
  • Miller Lake
  • Fourmile Lake
  • Duncan Reservoir
  • Priday Reservoir
  • Chewaucan River
  • Fish Lake (Steens)
  • Krumbo Reservoir
  • Beulah Reservoir
  • Anthony Lake
  • Brownlee Reservoir
  • Powder River
  • North Powder Pond
  • Pilcher Creek Reservoir
  • Highway 203 Pond

Lake of the Woods

The lake is in a forested setting with vacation cabins, Forest Service campgrounds and a resort surrounding most of the lake.

What to fish for:

The Lake of the Woods surrounded by tall pine trees

Stocked with legal-size rainbow trout throughout the fishing season. Fingerling rainbow, brown trout and kokanee are also stocked. Naturally producing warmwater fish include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, yellow perch and brown bullhead.

Fishing tips:

All lake-fishing techniques for trout will work here. There is good bank fishing for trout around most of the lake, especially near the boat ramps. Ice fishing for yellow perch is popular here. Anglers should target kokanee and brown trout early in the season for best success. Kokanee are often caught by jigging in the deeper sections of the lake or by trolling.

The lake is open to fishing 24 hours a day so anglers can target the large brown trout—up to 10 pounds –lurking along the lake’s shoreline at night. Brown trout anglers have the best success trolling lures that resemble available prey species (silver, rainbow-colored, black and gold Rapalas or similar lures) off shore in depths of 10-20 feet. Use long leaders and electric motors for best results. During the summer, the best fishing will be during the early morning and evening hours.

Facilities:

Lake of the Woods Resort

  • campground
  • picnic area
  • restrooms or toilet
  • boat launch or ramp
  • boat rentals       

USFS campgrounds:
Apen Point

  • campground
  • accessible
  • restrooms or toilet
  • picnic area                         

Sunset

  • campground
  • accessible
  • restrooms or toilet
  • picnic area
  • boat launch or ramp
  • parking, entrance or other day use fee

Getting there:

Lake of the Woods is located off of State Rte. 140 mid-way between Medford and Klamath Falls.    

Willow Valley Reservoir

Willow Valley Reservoir is on the OR/CA border south of Klamath Falls, and offers an undeveloped and unpopulated outdoor experience.

What to fish for:

Warmwater fish are abundant, with opportunities for largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and a few yellow perch. Largemouth bass grow quite large, often to 6-pounds or more.

Fishing tips:

Use standard warmwater-fishing techniques such as bobber and worms, and jigs. Soft plastic lures imitating worms, frogs and grubs work well for largemouth bass. There is good bank access around the BLM campground.

Facilities:

BLM primitive, dispersed camping

  • restrooms or toilet
  • boat launch or ramp

Getting there:

From Klamath Falls travel on State Rte. 140 to Dairy, then turn right on County Rd. 70. Continue south on Langell Valley Rd. through Lorella. As you near the California border watch for a sign to the reservoir and turn left on Willow Valley Rd.

Gerber Reservoir

Located between Lakeview and Klamath Falls, this large reservoir is set amidst wide-open areas of sage brush, juniper and pine. Reservoir features two BLM campgrounds, and good crappie and perch fishing.

What to fish for:

Crappie, yellow perch, brown bullhead, a few largemouth bass.

Fishing tips:

Standard lake-fishing techniques will work here for all species. Target crappie in late May and June in flooded bank vegetation.

Facilities:

BLM campgrounds:
Gerber North

  • campground
  • restrooms or toilet
  • accessible
  • picnic area
  • boat launch or ramp

Gerber South

  • campground
  • restrooms or toilet
  • accessible
  • picnic area
  • boat launch or ramp

Getting there:

Located about 42 miles east of Klamath Falls. From Klamath Falls, take Hwy 140 east 15 miles to Dairy. Turn right on Hwy 70 and travel five miles to Bonanza. From Bonanza, continue past Big Springs Park on East Langell Valley Rd. for approximately 11 miles. Turn left at the intersection of Gerber Rd. (90 degree) and follow Gerber Road approximately 8.5 miles.

Bald eagle, osprey, sandhill crane and American white pelican are commonly seen around Gerber Reservoir and, if you’re observant, you might also spot bobcat, coyote, antelope or mule deer.

Miller Lake

One of the best brown trout fisheries in Oregon. Lots of brown trout available, including many more than 26-inches long.

What to fish for:

A man stands in a boat holding a large brown trout. The trout is yellowish on the belly and has black speckles on its sides

Brown trout, hatchery rainbow trout, kokanee.

Fishing tips:

Best brown trout fishing is in the evening and night time – the lake is open to fishing 24 hours a day – casting lures toward shoreline structure or trolling parallel to shore. Flies, big streamers, Rapalas and crayfish imitations can be effective. Standard lake-fishing techniques will work for rainbow trout.

Some bank access at the campground; a boat is helpful for casting back toward the shore or trolling.

Facilities:

USFS Digit Point Campground and Day Use Area

  • campground
  • restrooms or toilet
  • picnic area
  • boat launch or ramp

Getting there:

From Chemult, go 0.5 mile north on US 97, then 12 miles west on Miller Lake Rd. (Forest Rd. 9772).

Fourmile Lake

This 763-acre reservoir sits at the base of Mt. McLoughlin and is well-known for producing big rainbow trout, abundant kokanee and spectacular views.

What to fish for:

Fourmile Lake sprawls in the foreground with a snowy mountain in the background

Stocked June through August with rainbow trout. Kokanee, brook trout and lake trout also are available.

Fishing tips:

All lake-fishing techniques will work here. Bank fishing can be productive and access is excellent with all of Fourmile Lake occurring on U.S. Forest Service property.

Facilities:

USFS Fourmile Lake Campground

  • campground
  • restrooms or toilet
  • picnic area
  • boat launch or ramp

Getting there:

From Klamath Falls, travel about 35 miles northwest on Hwy 140 to Forest Rd. 3661. Turn right and go 5.5 miles north to the campground.

Duncan Reservoir

A small irrigation reservoir five miles east of Silver Lake. Trout grow fast in the rich waters and stocked trout can reach 20-inches by summer’s end.

What to fish for:

A rainbow trout being held by a person. You can only see the person's hands in the image.

Stocked with hatchery rainbow trout in May and June. Brown bullhead also are available.

Fishing tips:

All standard lake-fishing techniques will work here. Good fishing from the bank. This also is a great place for a canoe, float tube, pontoon boat or other small craft.

Facilities:

BLM Duncan Lake Campground

  • campground
  • restrooms or toilet
  • picnic area
  • boat launch or ramp

Getting there:

From Silver Lake, travel 5 miles east on State Rte. 31, then County Rd. 4-14 which is gravel and sometimes wash boarded.

Priday Reservoir

Located in the remote Warner Basin, this reservoir offers good fishing for stocked trout.

What to fish for:

Priday Reservoir

Stocked with fingerling and legal-size rainbow trout.

Fishing tips:

All standard lake-fishing techniques will work here. The lake is often turbid, but still fishes well. Most fish are caught close to shore.

Facilities:

none

Getting there:

5 miles south of Plush on the west side of the Plush-Adel Rd.

Chewaucan River

The Chewaucan River offers quality wild trout fishing in a primitive setting. It’s an excellent choice for introducing families to primitive style camping and to stream fishing. Getting here is part of the adventure. Fill up your gas tank whenever you find an open pump, and come prepared with all your camping needs, including water.

What to fish for:

The Chewaucan River flows through a sparse pine tree forest

Wild redband trout are abundant and can reach 6-pounds. There are brook trout in the higher reaches.

Fishing tips:

Standard stream-fshing techniques will work here. Try grasshopper imitations in summer, stonefly and caddis nymph imitations yearround. A good way for kids to fish is with an artificial fly (such as a grasshopper, stonefly or caddis nymph imitation) and casting bobber. Live bait is not allowed in the Chewaucan River.

Good access to the river from several campgrounds and pullouts along Forest Rd. 33.

Facilities:

Primitive USFS campgrounds:
Chewaucan Crossing

  • campground
  • restrooms or toilet
  • accessible
  • picnic area

Jones Crossing

  • campground
  • restrooms or toilet
  • picnic area         

Marster Springs

  • campground
  • restrooms or toilet
  • accessible
  • picnic area

Getting there:

From Lakeview, follow Hwy 395 north to Valley Falls, then State Rte. 31 to Paisley. A paved road west out of Paisley follows the Chewaucan through BLM land and into Fremont National Forest (Forest Rd. 33).   

Fish Lake

A remote but popular lake high on the west side of Steens Mountain. Usually not accessible until late May (or even July some years), this is a great place for a family camping trip.

What to fish for:

A photo of Fish Lake with a red kayak in the distance

Good brook trout fishing in early spring. Stocked with legal-size rainbow trout in late June – about the time brook trout are getting harder to catch.

Fishing tips:

Standard lake-fishing techniques will work here. Fly-fishing can be excellent, especially in the fall. Good bank access; also a great place for float tube, pontoon boat or canoe. No motors allowed.

Facilities:

BLM Fish Lake Campground

  • campground
  • restrooms or toilet
  • picnic area
  • boat launch or ramp

Getting there:

From Burns, take Hwy 78 southeast for approximately 2 miles. Turn right onto Hwy 205 and travel south for 60 miles to Frenchglen. Just past Frenchglen, turn left onto the Steens Mountain Loop Rd. Travel 18 miles on the Loop Rd. to the campground.

Krumbo Reservoir

A stark but beautiful desert reservoir on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Good fishing from both bank and boat. Electric motors only.

What to fish for:

a small fishing boat with two anglers in Krumbo Reservoir

Stocked with 13,000 rainbow trout in April. Best fishing is in spring and early summer before aquatic weeds get thick, and again in the fall when water temperatures cool. Largemouth bass are also available with many over 12-inches long.

Fishing tips:

Standard lake-fishing techniques will work here.

Facilities:

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

  • restrooms or toilet
  • picnic area
  • boat launch or ramp
  • fishing pier or dock
  • accessible

Getting there:

From Burns, take Hwy 205 south. The reservoir is on the south end of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Beulah Reservoir

This remote reservoir is in a pretty setting of junipers on the North Fork Malheur River. Known as a trout lake, the department stocks this reservoir every spring when there is enough water. This reservoir also supports wild redband trout that drift down from the river into the reservoir. Some of these trout can exceed 20 inches.

What to fish for:

Bulah Reservoir with snowy low mountains on the far side

Hatchery rainbow trout, wild redband trout and whitefish.

Fishing tips:

Standard lake-fishing techniques will work here. Best fishing is in spring when water levels are high and water temperatures are low. In years with very low spring run off, the reservoir will be drawn down to minimum levels by August. Much of the land near Warm Springs Creek in the northeast corner is private with limited access.

Facilities:

Dispersed campsites can be found along the northern and eastern shores.
Bureau of Reclamlation

  • restrooms or toilet
  • boat launch or ramp

Getting there:

From Juntura, take Beulah Rd. 19 miles north

Anthony Lake

This lake it located high (7,100 feet) in the Elkhorn Mountains near Baker City. Scenic, isolated camp spots and good fishing make this a great place for a family camping trip.

What to fish for:

Stocked legal-size rainbow trout grow to 14-inches by fall. Naturally reproducing brook trout from 8- to 10-inches are also available.

Fishing tips:

All lake-fishing techniques will work here, though most anglers use bait. Fly anglers can wade and cast from the submerged vegetation at the southwest end. The lake is often iced over until July Fourth. Fishing is good throughout summer and fall.

A trail circles the lake and offers many opportunities for bank fishing. Also suitable for float tubes, pontoon boats, canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized craft.

Facilities: 

USFS Anthony Lake Campground and Picnic Area

  • accessible
  • restrooms or toilet
  • picnic area
  • boat launch or ramp
  • parking, entrance or other day use fee

Getting there:

From North Powder on I-84 between La Grande and Baker City, head west on North Powder Rd., then south on Anthony Creek Rd. (Forest Rd. 73), which leads to the lake.

Brownlee Reservoir

This 57-mile long impoundment of the Snake River between Oregon and Idaho is renowned for its crappie, smallmouth bass and catfish fishing. Boating and water skiing are also popular activities. The state recreation area at the south end of the reservoir is a good place to start your adventure.

What to fish for:

Brownlee Reservoir is a deep blue and surrounded by brown and green hills

Stocked rainbow trout, smallmouth bass and crappie.

Fishing tips:

Standard lake-fishing techniques for trout and bass will work here. For crappies jig small lures baited with bits of worm or shrimp. Best fishing for crappie, bass and perch is around points of land and in coves.

There is good bank fishing at the recreation area. Also look for turnouts along the Snake River Rd. that parallels the reservoir from the recreation area north.

Facilities:

Farewell Bend State Recreation Area

  • campground
  • accessible
  • restrooms or toilet
  • picnic area
  • boat launch or ramp
  • parking, entrance or other day use fee

Getting there:

From I-84 east take exit 345 onto Huntington Hwy and travel south to Huntington. Continue through Huntington following the signs to the recreation area.

Powder River below Mason Dam

Located in the US Forest Service’s Powder River Recreation area, this beautifully forested section of the Powder River offers excellent fishing access from Hwy 7 that parallels the river. The first 3 miles below the dam are abundantly stocked in spring and summer, making this a good location for beginner stream fishers to wet a line.

What to fish for:

Stocked rainbow trout.

Fishing tips:

Standard stream-fishing techniques will work here. Best fishing will be in the spring and fall when water levels are the best.
The use of bait is allowed.

Facilities:

USFS Powder River Area Accessible Fishing Trails

  • restrooms or toilet
  • fishing pier or dock
  • accessible

USFS Mason Dam Picnic Area

  • restrooms or toilet
  • picnic area         

Getting there:

From I-84 east take exit 304 at Baker City and turn right. Travel 0.9 miles and turn left on Main St. (OR Hwy 7) south. Travel 18.8 miles.

North Powder Pond

This is a convenient fishing spot for residents of North Powder and Baker City.

What to fish for:

A photo of North Powder Pond taken from the shade of a tree on the bank. The tree's limbs show in the upper right corner of the image.

The pond is stocked with rainbow trout in April, May and late September. Bluegill naturally reproduce in the pond and offer some midsummer action when the trout fishing is typically slow.

Fishing tips:

All standard lake-fishing techniques will work here.

Facilities:

Other than parking and good bank access, no other facilities are available.

Getting there:

From I-84 east take exit 285 at North Powder. Turn right, then an immediate left onto US 30 east for 0.9 miles. Right onto dirt road 0.4 miles to pond.

Pilcher Creek Reservoir

This relatively small reservoir in the foothills of the Elkhorn Mountains offers good fishing for crappie and rainbow trout, as well as beautiful views of the Elkhorn and Wallowa mountains. Good bank access and boat launch, and nice (if primitive) camping facilities make this an excellent place for a weekend family outing.

What to fish for:

Pilcher Creek Reservoir

Fingerling rainbows are stocked annually, which means there are trout available throughout the season. Naturally reproducing black crappie also are available.

Fishing tips:

All standard lake-fishing techniques for trout will work here. Crappie in this reservoir can be finicky – best fishing is with jigs near the dam.

There is convenient bank access at the boat launch and campground. More adventurous anglers will find plenty of bank fishing spots around the entire reservoir.

Facilities:

Pilcher Creek Reservoir County (Union) Park

  • campground
  • restrooms or toilet
  • boat launch or ramp

Getting there:

From I-84 east take exit 285 at North Powder. Right onto North Powder Ln. and travel 7.7 miles. Turn right onto Tucker Flat Rd. and travel 1.8 miles to boat ramp.

Highway 203 Pond

This is a popular local fishing spot conveniently located right off I-84 near Baker City.

What to fish for:

Highway 203 pond

The pond is abundantly stocked with rainbow trout in April, May and late September. Bass and bluegill naturally reproduce in the pond and provide mid-summer action when the trout fishing is typically slow.

Fishing tips:

All standard lake-fishing techniques will work here. The pond is open year-round but is often ice-covered from late November through May.

Facilities:

Other than a parking area and good bank access, no other facilities are available.

Getting there:

From I-84 east take exit 298 (Medical Springs exit). Travel left 0.2 miles and turn right at the airport sign. Pond is on the left.

Header photo by Rick Swart

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