I refer to East Lake as Central Oregon’s most consistent fishing lake. So much so, I spend the majority of my guide days and many of my days off fishing here. Between Callibaetis and Chironomids you have 2 huge food sources, but you can also rely on good damsel hatches.
Ants and beetles blow out of the trees and off the nearby ridges and fall to the lake on warm afternoons often bringing a frenzy of surface feeding around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Leeches and huge colonies of daphnia also fill the bellies of the trout here and take up the slack during non-hatch times. Skip on over to the Cascade Lakes Fishing Report for the most recent specifics at East Lake.
East Lake is home to the Blackwater strain of Rainbow Trout from British Columbia, Brown Trout and Kokanee. The state recommends not eating many of the fish from East Lake because of a high, naturally occurring Mercury in the lake (East and Paulina Lakes are part of a volcanic crater that is still active).
This warning coupled with excellent new ODFW regulations that prohibit keeping any fish over 20 inches is quickly turning East Lake into a trophy fishery again.
Depending on the season and the weather on this high elevation natural lake, you will usually find feeding trout on or near the surface in the vast shoal areas than encompass about 75% of the bank lines and reach out as far as several hundred yards from shore.
When you find the deeper shoals and drop offs anchor up and fish a red or black chironomid under a sliding strike indicator. You’ll be down in 15 to 20 feet of water and takes are usually light but some can rip the rod right from your boat so hold on.
When the wind is too heavy to find dries on the water or even too heavy to fish chironomids try wind drifting with a callibaetis nymph or a leech on the east side of the lake out from the resort or Cinder Hill boat ramp and camp ground.
During the hatch, any area from the White Slide, to the resort or the Hot Springs may be really good but on some days you’ll need to be mobile to go looking for the best activity. A motor boat is great here, but there are plenty of really good East Lake anglers who do it in a pontoon or even a tube.
East Lake is easy to get to south of Bend on Hwy 97 then East up to the Newberry National Monument. There are two campgrounds at the lake and four boat ramps.
Interested in a guided trip? We would be happy to take you to East Lake! Just fill out our contact form.