Central Oregon anglers will have a wide variety of choices for this weekend’s trout season opener.
After a mild winter with relatively little snowfall, most high Cascade lakes will be ice-free and accessible for opening day this Saturday.
Central Oregon lakes opening for fishing this weekend include Crane Prairie Reservoir, Big Lava Lake, Odell Lake, South Twin Lake and Wickiup Reservoir. All of those water bodies are reportedly ice-free and accessible.
The gate into Paulina Lake and East Lake — both located in the Newberry Crater National Volcanic Monument east of La Pine — is scheduled to open May 2, according to Deschutes County Road Department Operations Manager Tom Shamberger.
Paulina Lake was reportedly ice-free nearly a month ago, while East Lake is still partially covered by ice.
The road into Paulina and East lakes is plowed, but there currently is no place to park, launch a boat or turn around, according to Shamberger, who said he consulted with the U.S. Forest Service to make the decision on when to open the gate.
“We just figured it’s a more prudent approach to keep the gate shut until the first resort opens,” Shamberger said.
Paulina Lake Lodge is scheduled to open next Saturday, May 3, and East Lake Resort is scheduled to open May 23.
Shamberger added that the road department opened Cascade Lakes Highway at Deschutes Bridge on Tuesday, giving the public access as far north as Elk Lake. The highway remains closed from Mt. Bachelor ski area to Elk Lake, but Shamberger said that section will be opened by Memorial Day weekend at the latest.
The last of the ice melted off Big Lava Lake last week, according to Lava Lake Lodge owner Jim Frazee. The lake, which is often questionable for opening weekend, will be fully open and accessible this Saturday, according to Frazee.
Frazee added that Crane Prairie and Wickiup reservoirs are 100 percent full and “absolutely stuffed with water.”
“Fishing oughta be really good,” he said.
While technically open year-round, Cultus Lake is not typically accessible by late April, but this spring it is. Folks have already been fishing there this month, including Frazee.
The lodge owner, however, did give fair warning to anglers about the forecast for this weekend.
“Snow/rain mix,” Frazee said. “The standard opener weather.”
— Mark Morical, The Bulletin