Oregon is a stunning state with picturesque scenery and captivating ocean shorelines. If you enjoy fishing, this guide will help you locate the best spots for fishing in Oregon. Below you will learn about the most excellent fishing times of the year, the species you may catch, and the best locations!

Top Fishing Spots in Bend

Many of the great fishing spots in Central Oregon are only a one-hour trip from town. The following are some ideal fishing locations:

1. Deschutes River

A man fly fishing on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon in fall.

As the country’s most popular trout stream, it offers some exhilarating steelhead fishing. Fly fishermen from all over the United States go to the lower Deschutes because it is their destination.

The Deschutes boasts a year-round rainbow trout fishery. But anglers frequently consider the stonefly and salmon fly hatch of late May and early June as the peak period. Most of the time, the fishing for trout is best above Sherars Falls, upstream from Maupin, and till Pelton Dam, close to Warm Springs.

Yet, excellent trout fishing goes further downstream down Macks Canyon to the Deschutes’ mouth. Glacial runoff from the White River can cover the lower Deschutes. The Deschutes River is accessible year-round in most places.

Although the Deschutes River permits a small amount of native trout harvesting, most fishermen engage in catch-and-release fishing for these desirable fish. One more fantastic fishing opportunity in Oregon is steelhead fishing on the Deschutes.

2. Crooked River

Aerial view of the Crooked River near Smith Rock in Bend, Oregon.

The Crooked River flows east of Prineville in the Ochoco Mountains. The river flows most after the Bowman Dam when fishing is optimum. The majority of the whitefish and rainbow trout that are there are between 8 and 14 inches long, although some may grow even larger.

Beginners should come here to pick up the fundamentals of fly fishing. Midges, caddis larvae, little mayfly nymphs, and tiny stonefly nymph patterns are all quite effective while fly fishing. Try blue-winged olives, elk hair caddis, or light morning duns as dry fly options.

Follow Alfalfa Market Road to the East to reach the Crooked River. You’ll eventually arrive at the South Reservoir Road; turn left onto Highway 27. It will take you to the Bowman Dam and provide fantastic access to the Crooked River.

3. Metolius River

Bend, Oregon's Metolius River winding through the forest with a "fly fishing" sign attached to a tree in the foreground.

The Metolius, which originates as a fully formed trout stream close to Camp Sherman and flows through a Ponderosa pine forest, is home to most of the world’s red-band rainbow trout. Moreover, there are native bull trout that can reach 20 pounds and some non-native brook and brown trout.

Thanks to recently installed fish passages in the dams, sockeye, chinook, and steelhead runs enter the Deschutes River. Because stocking was discontinued years ago, fishing is now strictly catch and release. The peaceful surroundings and numerous bug hatches draw committed anglers. Above Bridge 99, fly fishing is the only legal method, and the river is entirely bait-free.

4. Lake Billy Chinook

Aerial view of Lake Bill Chinook in Central Oregon.

Lake Billy Chinook Reservoir gathers the Metolius, Middle, and Crooked Rivers water. The lake is famous for its fantastic kokanee and bull trout fishing.

Lake Billy Chinook is among a few locations in Oregon where it is possible to hunt bull trout. The reservoir has many smallmouth basses, brown trout, and rainbow trout. You can easily catch the bull trout with streamer patterns.

Going north on Highway 97 will allow you to access any of the numerous boat ramps and access spots for Lake Billy Chinook.

5. Crane Prairie Reservoir

Boats at the dock at sunset on Crain Prairie Reservoir in Bend, Oregon.

Water management for irrigation needs led to the construction of Crane Prairie Reservoir. Crane Prairie receives water flow from the Deschutes and several other minor streams and springs. The reservoir is 11 feet deep on average. There are large populations of whitefish, brook trout, and rainbow trout.

The rainbow trout in the reservoir are notable for their enormous size. Crane Prairie boasts the whitefish state record. In the sweltering heat, fish frequently migrate to deeper canals. The best flies are midges, chironomids, and balanced leeches in this situation.

With a sinking line, stripping damselflies, leeches, and streamers may be a blast. The Cascade Lake Highway and South Century Drive in Sunriver both lead to Crane Prairie.

6. Wickiup Reservoir

Close up a man's hands casting a fishing rod in a Bend, Oregon lake at sunset.

The Wickiup Reservoir managed Deschutes River water for irrigation purposes. The reservoir is 20 feet deep on average, but depending on the water level, a few channels can reach depths of 70 feet.

Here you can catch kokanee, whitefish, brown trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout. The most famous fish in this water body is the enormous brown trout.

The rainbows put up a terrific fight and can grow to enormous sizes. A prolonged drought affected the water levels at Wickiup. The first complete draining of the reservoir took place in 2020.

Unfortunately, this year’s water levels are lower than last year’s. Moreover, the reservoir may drain again in the summer.  However, If you want to reach this scenic place, the South Century Drive through Sunriver is the most efficient route from Bend to Wickiup.

7. East Lake

A raft on the shore of East Lake in the Newberry Crater in Bend, Oregon during winter.

East Lake, situated in the spectacular Newberry Crater, provides various fishing options. Rainbow trout, which account for a sizable portion of the catch, are abundantly stocked in the East. This area also has many kokanees, occasionally making for terrific fishing. A fantastic fly-fishing lake, East is centered on shallows with lots of bugs. Rainbow trout are fly fishermen’s primary prey.

The law requires the release of any rainbow trout without a clipped fin. There is a warning against eating the fish because of naturally present mercury, which has less effect on recently planted rainbows.

There is a lodge, campgrounds, and a wealth of amenities, but check the weather before going up in the weeks leading up to the opener in late April. This is a highland, so constant snow may make it difficult to get around.

8. Columbia River

An aerial view of the Columbia River winding through Central Oregon at sunset.

The Columbia River is the largest in West America. It also has a significant impact on fishing opportunities. Anglers hunt a wide variety of fish in this area. The numerous and diverse species of game fish found in the Columbia benefit from the shifting river and various climates that offer a diversity of habitats.

Fishing opportunities are available for numerous species in the Columbia River, particularly for steelhead, salmon, sturgeon, shad, walleye, and smallmouth bass. Anglers can find various fishing tactics and laws depending on the area, time of year, and target fish.

When to Go Fishing in Bend

A boat and fisherman fishing on Cascade Lakes in Bend, Oregon with a snowy Mt. Bachelor in the background.

The best time to go fishing depends on what kind of fish you are looking to catch. Overall, May through October are the ideal fishing months in Oregon. June through September is salmon and tuna season, but if you want to avoid the crowd during the warmer months, try fishing for halibut instead! It is catchable, along with other bottom-feeding fish, throughout the year.

Recommended Fishing Gear

Spending time with friends while fishing is a terrific idea. It’s the ideal pastime to unwind, escape the city, and perhaps catch some fish for dinner. We strongly advise giving it a try if you haven’t already. However, you must have a few items in your tackle box before venturing out with your friends.

It can be hard to shop for fishing equipment if you’re a newbie. Many fishing rods, reels, tackles, and accessories are available. Each one has unique qualities that make fishing more enjoyable.

Fishermen or anglers who use a fishing hook to hunt must carry the right fishing gear. Every box will contain the same essentials as your standard fishing rods and reels.

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Regulations

The official website of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife contains all the information on fishing and hunting restrictions in the state. The website states that the following actions are illegal:

  • Using many rods or lines when fishing;
  • Not paying close attention to rods or lines.
  • Landing fish with gurdies, winches, or reels attached to a boat (rod and line should be held in the hand unless used to recover crab rings or pots).
  • Employing UAVs while fishing or assisting in fishing, such as radio-controlled boats.
  • Catching or trying to catch gamefish.
  • Angling through an artificial ice hole that is longer or wider than 12 inches.
  • Wasting marine intertidal invertebrates, shellfish, or fish.
  • Throwing away a fish carcass in water that wasn’t the fish’s original habitat. Anglers must save enough of the carcass to determine fin clips’ size, species, and existence.
  • Remove any salmon and steelhead corpses or parts not legally harvested from streams.
  • Unauthorized angling on private property.

Moreover, the website also provides comprehensive information regarding sport fishing laws, clamming and crabbing restrictions, updates to regulations during the season, and more. You can contact the public service representative for ODFW if you have any particular questions or concerns.

Interested in Relocating to Bend? We Can Assist!

Bend is home to numerous hiking trials, rivers, and waterfalls. The area has multiple attractions, restaurants, bars, and more that engage residents. Are you interested in relocating to Bend? Bend offers adventures, scenic beauty, and is an ideal place to settle down.

With the changing landscape, you can easily explore the surroundings. If you are planning to relocate to Bend and searching for the best places to stay and explore, contact Bend Relocation Services today!