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Outdoor report: Free Fishing Weekend this Saturday and Sunday throughout Oregon

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Eleven-year-old Benjamin Fessler proudly posing with a 22″ Diamond Lake Rainbow.
Picture courtesy of Diamond Lake Resort Rob DeHarpport photo


By ROB DEHARPPORT/for The Herald  —  Our Springtime weather continues to bring a mixture of sunny days and rain filled days, sprinkled with occasional high winds. However, it’s a welcome relief to the drought conditions of the last few years. The weekend forecast is predicting another “atmospheric river” event which may hinder outdoor plans for many.

Fish are becoming more active with warmer water temps

 As we say goodbye to May and move into June fishing, success is also a mixed bag. We are, however, seeing improvements in many lakes as fish become more active with warmer water temperatures. This has proven to be true at Odell Lake for Kokanee anglers.
In my report last week, I lamented how the Kokanee fishing has become much tougher the last few years at Odell. I still believe this to be true and many veteran Odell anglers would agree. Quick and easy 30-fish limits continue to be rare when compared to recent years in the past. However, one of my fishing friends, Clay Jones, and I had a good day on Odell yesterday.
Stubborn persistence – Results of 12 hours on Odell Lake for the author and Clay Jones. Fifteen fish each or 1/2 a limit each. Soon to be in the smoker. Rob DeHarpport photo

Although it took nearly 12 hours, we loaded up the boat with thirty nice Kokanee in the box. We found a few “jumpers” willing to hit jigs that we tossed at Daybreak. We quickly changed to trolling tactics, but by 9:00 a.m. we only had six fish. We trolled from Breezy Point to Princess Creek with some success. We ran two long lines with two ounces of weight behind the boat from 60-100 feet behind the boat and two down riggers set at the 20-50′ depth range.

We did find schools on the sonar at 80-100′ but we focused on the upper water column and the fish that weren’t being picked up by sonar. Fish were seen jumping all over the calm lake most all day. As the wind picked up later in the afternoon, we cut the motor and wind drifted with continued success. Other anglers’ success at Odell varied from poor to good reports.

Mackinaws fishing at Odell

 Mackinaw Fishing continues to be great at Odell for those pursuing them. Odell Lake Resort’s annual Mackinaw tournament begins Saturday and continues Sunday. $100 entry fee with $1500 going to the winner. Cash prizes are typically awarded to the fifteen biggest fish.
The resort will have a “chase boat” on the lake to meet anglers who call in their location on the lake to weigh and then release the “Big Macs”.
Free Fishing Weekend this Saturday and Sunday throughout Oregon. It’ll be a great opportunity to get out and fish, crab and dig for clams without having a license.

Paulina Lake continues to produce Kokanee limits.

Lingering snow drifts continue to limit camping and boat launching. East Lake is ice-free and accessible.  Diamond Lake is producing some nice Trout and the Campgrounds are becoming free of snow. Princess Creek Campground and boat launch at Odell will likely soon be open as we could hear USFS chainsaws dropping hazard trees from the lake yesterday. Trapper Creek Campground remains closed due to snow.
Check with the Deschutes National Forest Facebook page for updates on Campgrounds. Crane Prairie Reservoir is a good bet for Rainbows and Kokanee. Miller Lake is also now accessible.
The lower elevation lakes are rewarding anglers at Hills Creek and Lookout Point Reservoirs with Trout, crappie, bass, and a few Walleyes being caught at Lookout.
At the coast Halibut season has opened with great success when ocean conditions allow, as well as good success for bottom fish.
I normally refrain from sharing personal fish stories in my reports, but I have a whopper of a story to share from yesterday on Odell.
Many of us who fish Odell and elsewhere often enjoy watching the Eagles and Osprey that also fish Odell Lake.
Odell Lake sunrise Rob DeHarpport photo

Yesterday morning, Clay Jones and I were trolling along the east shore with down riggers set at 40′ depths. Suddenly we realized we had gone into the big shallow shelf west of the highway viewpoint. We quickly reeled up the down riggers. Just before we realized that we may soon have our gear dragging bottom, I had said that I may have had a bite on my down riggers offering.

When quickly reeling  up the gear, I hadn’t released my line from the clip. As we were turning the boat towards deeper water an Osprey swooped down behind the boat and snagged a Kokanee. Yep, the Kokanee was attached to my hook, line, and down rigger clip. He quickly flew past the front of the boat with my fish and gear, rapidly gaining altitude. I yanked the line free of the clip and then “tight lined” the fish from the Osprey’s talons.
Expecting to rip the hook from the soft mouth of the Kokanee, to our amazement the fish was still hooked, and I reeled in a nice plump, but talon-scarred, Odell Lake Kokanee. I have to wonder, was the Osprey more surprised than we were?  It was a good day and an event on the lake that we will surely never forget.
Get outside, enjoy our beautiful area and make some memories! Stay safe, good luck, have fun and tight lines!
Rob DeHarpport was a long-term resident and former mayor of Westfir. Rob now lives in the Crescent Lake area and is The Herald’s reporter for the Outdoor Report. Rob DeHarpport photo

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