Forgive that we haven’t posted reports recently. It has been very hard keeping track of our local fisheries for last couple weeks. Between the Bureau of Land Management, National Forest and State Parks, and then throw in the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are many powers that be involved. And so there are many entities creating new and evolving regulations. We’ve done our best to compile a list of what is open, what is closed, where there is access and where there is not. Before going into what details we do have, we want to impress upon all of you, whether in Central Oregon or elsewhere, that we are still in the midst of a very serious flu pandemic. Even a trip to the river or lake can involve stops for gas, snacks, beer, ice and food. We need to remind ourselves to not let our guard down. Have wipes or gel, and use them regularly. Keep social distancing in mind all the time. Our movements in the world around us, no matter what, have ripple effects. We all need to remain hyper-vigilant. The way we get back to a sense or normalcy sooner than later is to minimize any risk of exposing ourselves, while understanding that we can all be infected, not know it, and put those around us at risk unwittingly. No matter where you go, how long you stay there or who you encounter, you have a heavy responsibility to conduct every manner of your travel with complete common sense. All of us will be better for it.
Okay, we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about places we can fish. As mentioned above, this is an ever-shifting landscape. We do not claim to be an authority in any regard. Please contact the local offices of whoever is in charge if you have questions. We’ve spent hours over the last few days contacting people who manage our area’s fisheries and even at that, we’re not 100% certain what the score is in some places!
Let’s start with lakes. The only ramps that we know of that are allowing access are at North and South Twin Lakes, Ochoco Reservoir and Haystack Reservoir. Check the ODFW regulations for engine restrictions on these lakes. Our understanding is that they are all fishing well, have decent fish populations and are seeing quite a few anglers.
As for some of other favorites: Roads are still closed to East, Paulina, Hosmer, Lava and Little Lava. You’ll have to watch the ODOT website for the latest word on when the roads will open. Even when we have access to these lakes -as well as Crane Prairie and Wickiup, which are set to open on April 22nd– we are unsure if the ramps we be available for use. Between the National Forest, National Monument and State Park, we will pass along word as soon as we can get it.
For the rivers, much has changed over the last few weeks. We have the latest fishing reports for each river here in the Reports Page. Up at the Fall River, access has gotten limited. The Hatchery is still completely closed to all access. The Campground is open for day-use only. The Guard Station parking lot is open. Down at the “Tubes” it’s a little more complicated. We’ll break down as much as we’ve been able to discern. While the river down there is considered National Forest, the road, the parking lots and the picnic area are all State Park. The entire area is closed. There is a new sign up a hundred yards or so before the first parking lot. There have been cones in the road too. You are not allowed to drive passed there but can park and walk in. The picnic area adjacent the second lot is closed, so you can’t fish from that side of the river until downstream of the “Tubes”. Otherwise the river is open as usual.
The Crooked River is open for fishing. According to the BLM the campgrounds are open for day use but not overnight camping. As of a week ago, Big Bend CG was chained off, but the others weren’t. Originally, we were told the campgrounds were completely off limits, but that does not appear to be the case. There are plenty of spots to park along the road. That’s what we’re doing.
The Metolius River is open from Allingham down. All the campgrounds that have gates are closed. The Hatchery parking area is also closed. But there are plenty of areas open and accessible. The trails on both sides of the river are also open.
The Deschutes from Benham Falls to Lake Billy Chinook, while open for fishing, has been experiencing extreme flow changes, some fairly typical, some whacky even by normal Central Oregon Irrigation District standards. Without getting into what might possess people to do what they’re doing, just know that for the time being that entire stretch of river is jacked up.