The general trout season opener in Oregon is the last Saturday in April and these two lakes are usually both ready for anglers at that time. The lakes are bigger and if you want to explore the far reaches, especially on Lava Lake you’ll want a boat with a gas motor or have strong arms for rowing.
A lot of anglers use float tubes and pontoon boats to fish near the boat ramps and resort area at Lava with great success. I always think of these lakes in the early season fishing them myself in April, May, and June when leeches fished deep on a type 3 or clear camo line take the majority of fish for me.
But, both lakes see excellent chironomid hatches and at times exceptional callibaetis hatches too. Lava is a bigger lake and can get windy, but if that happens and you get blown off, it’s often safer on the smaller, more protected Little Lava Lake.
Located 45 minutes from Bend on the Cascade Lakes highway both lakes are easy to access, but on heavy snow pack years you may need to access from the South coming in on National Road 40 from the resort town of Sun River.