Crane Prairie was first dammed in the 20’s, holding water back as the Deschutes and other small tributaries filled the old forest and meadow area with clean, cold water. Immediately Crane Prairie was on the map as perhaps Oregon’s finest Stillwater. Crane Prairie is a big, shallow reservoir. The deepest areas are the four river channels that meander thru the lake toward the outlet at the dam.
In the Summer it pays dividends to find these channels to catch the most active fish. In the Spring and Fall the fish spread out on the flats and swim through the flooded out forest and vast flats that gives Crane Prairie it’s signature look. Many of the flooded out trees are still standing 100 years later, calcified by the rich waters of the region. Locals call the areas that are still heavily treed the Ghost Forest.
Crane opens with the general season in late April and closes at the end of October. A boat with a gas motor is the best way to get access to the fishing. Boat launches near the Resort, Quinn River and Rocky Point are all spots to explore throughout the season, especially while searching for the channels with the coldest water in the heat of the summer.
Known for excellent leech fishing, Crane Prairie is also great for chironomids, damselflies, waterboatman, scuds and as of 2020 a nice resurgence of callibaetis which we haven’t seen as many of for several years.
Crane Prairie is located on the Cascade Lakes Highway and is accessible from Sun River, Oregon either on National Forest Road 40 or South Century Drive.