East Lake - Our Favorite Stillwater Playground
Of the many Central Oregon fly fishing destinations, few are as well-known and popular 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. It is half a million years old! This body of water is home to an astonishing number and variety of fish. And it’s only about an hour from Fly & Field Outfitters.
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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, an invasive species that had gotten far too established in East Lake. The new ‘bows, several 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 2-3” growth per year. Most are now in the 18” range, super hard-fighting and gorgeous. For obvious reason, the Blackwater fish are a welcomed addition. When caught, they must all be released. As with most wild trout, these are recognized because they have an adipose fin.
East also has an incredible brown trout population. These fish grow large. Twenty-inch fish are not uncommon. As with most big browns, these are predominantly meat eaters and will chase big streamers and buggers along rock faces. There are plenty of smaller fish for them to grow large from eating.
The lake also has plentiful Kokanee and the occasional 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, making a favorite method wind drifting with sinking lines. That can produce all season long. For more information on the season and current spawn, check out our East Lake fly fishing reports.
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Here at Fly & Field Outfitters, we have several expert Oregon fishing guides. So whether you’re looking for the latest intel and a few bugs, or a fully catered day with a guide, we have you covered. Schedule an East Lake guided fly fishing trip today so that you can get ALL of the local tips and info on Fly Fishing the beautiful Cascade Lakes. Call us at 1-866-800-2812 to book now.