Of the many Central Oregon Fly Fishing destinations, few are as well known and popular for fly fishing as East Lake. There’s a good reason for this. East Lake is about as beautiful as any mountain lake you’ll ever fish. Nestled into one half of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument crater, East Lake covers 1,044 acres and has an average depth of 67 feet and it is over half a million years old! This body of water is home to an astonishing number and variety of fish – and it’s only an hour from Fly and Field Outfitters.
For many years East Lake was known for having brook trout, and there are still some there, but the stocking program has redirected its attention now to rainbow trout, in particular a strain known as Blackwater Rainbows. This is a fish developed in Canadian hatcheries and is especially adept at corralling and devouring tui chub, the invasive species that had gotten far too established in East Lake. The new ‘bows, two years into the experiment, are doing a great job at eating the nuisance fish, as well as getting big! So far they’ve averaged around 3” growth per year. This year (2014) many were in the 17” range, super hard-fighting and gorgeous. For obvious reasons, the Blackwater fish are a welcomed addition and when caught, they must all be released.
East Lake also has an incredible brown trout population. These fish grow large. Two-foot long fish are not uncommon. As with most big browns, these are meat eaters and will chase big streamers and buggers along rock faces. There are plenty of smaller fish for them to grow large eating. Brown trout over 16” must be released.
The lake also has Kokanee and Atlantic salmon. The Kokanee are active all season, but get especially voracious late summer in preparation for their spawn. They spend most of the summer in slightly deeper water than the trout, but a favorite method is to wind drift with sinking lines and that can produce all season long.
What East is perhaps best known for is the amazing hatches. The Callibaetis will emerge from the weed beds and silty bottom in astonishing numbers and then blanket the water with duns and spinners for several hours almost every day of the summer. Caddis are present in smaller numbers. Chironomids are a large part of the trout’s diet also. On any given day at East Lake you can slow-twitch retrieve nymph rigs, cast dries to tipping heads, strip or wind-drift streamer patterns or string three chironomids under an indicator. They’ll all work!
Here at Fly and Field Outfitters we have several expert Oregon fishing guides. So whether you’re looking for latest intel and a few bugs or a fully catered day with a guide, we have you covered. For recent East Lake fly fishing reports click the image above. Schedule an East Lake guided fly fishing trip with us by clicking below, calling 1-866-800-2812, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.