Fishing Beyond the road – Central Oregon’s Odell Creek

There are so many great places to fish in central Oregon that it is hard to choose where to go. Luckily most of the small streams in the area are managed so that the native fish will not be depleted and people can enjoy to fish in them for years to come. Odell Creek is currently catch and release for all trout and limited to using fly or lures.

For every trip I take like this I always have a checklist of things to bring with me. For anyone hiking remote areas you should always have a backup plan for emergency. The main three to always focus on are shelter, water, and food. And always in that order. There is no need to buy the fancy expensive hiking ones. But even something as simple as a life straw can mean the difference of being stranded and waiting for help and waiting for help and having any type of intestinal issues from drinking unpurified water.

Odell creek is a small stream flowing from Odell Lake down through mostly thick timber down to Davis lake. In low water years like this year is turning out to be the upper end by Odell lake is very shallow with few places for fish. The lower end closer to Davis lake picks up some water and has some decent rainbow trout fishing. The size varies year to year depending on the water levels in the area. In early 2005 a fire swept through the area and the removed all the heavy timber in the last few miles of the stream going into Davis lake. No shade for fishing or to keep the water cooler. Still chilly even without the shade.

90+ temps but still fun
Towards the area outside of the fire burn.

Since I was a teen I have always enjoyed fishing this gem of a stream. In the really hot years once Davis lake gets warm the larger trout can swim up into some of the deep holes in the creek. Sadly the large fish in Davis are not what they used to be. Bass were illegally introduced in the mid 1990’s and that has hurt the trout population. For avid bass fisherman this is a great thing, but for those of us that love the trout it is a sad change. You can still find these bigger trout but since the fire I have noticed less of them going very far up into the creek.

At the edge of the old burn line the smaller brushy river alders are making a comeback
Closer to the lake the banks are still bare of any sized trees. There are a lot of smaller ones coming up now.
A larger native rainbow.

In my last couple of trips to the creek the average size has been around 6″-8″ with the occasional larger fish. I normally spin fish with lures but this is a great creek to fly fish in. Just lots of brush and logs in the water to make it a bit challenging.

Since It was a nice day this last time I also made a short fishing video. Not a lot of fish caught but it is a great hike along the creek.

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Crack in the Ground


Crack in the Ground is a great geologic feature to visit in Central Oregon .  It is a volcanic fissure over two miles long and up to 70 feet deep. The crack was estimated to have been formed about 1000 years ago. It is the result of a tension fracture along a hinge line produced by the draping of Green Mountain lava flows over the edge of up thrown side of the concealed fault zone. The time that the crack has been open is unusual. Most cracks that form from lava flow fill up with sediment fairly quickly.  This is due to the arid conditions of the area where it is located. You can find it in the southwest corner of Four Craters Lava Field in the Deschutes National Forest. Hikers can walk the length of the main crack and explore its tributaries.


It is a great place to take kids and pets.  There are very few steep spots and most of the fissure is level with a path running down the middle.  For those that are more adventurous there are sections of the fissure that you can climb down into and there is a small cave system you can explore.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOther places to visit in Central Oregon:
Fort Rock
Crane Prairie


Fort Rock


Fort Rock is a National Natural Landmark, located in the high Oregon desert some 70 miles southeast of Bend, Oregon and about 1 mile north of the town of Fort Rock. Part of the northern Great Basin, the Fort Rock Valley is part of an ancient dried lake. Fort Rock itself is an extinct volcano. Fort Rock is an old tuff ring created by volcanic action in what was a shallow sea in prehistoric times. It looks like a huge fort from forgotten times, its jagged rock walls tower 325 feet above the plain. There is a great view of the valley if you climb to the top of the ring. Not a good hike if you are bringing a dog. The interior is dog friendly how hiking, just very dry.


In 1936 an archaeologist named Luthar Cressmann discovered the oldest pair of sandals ever found in North America in the Fort Rock Cave located about 1/2 mile west of Fort Rock. The sandals were woven from bark and were dated as being over 9000 years old. Even though it is dry and covered in sagebrush now the area at the time was marshy with a lake surrounding Fort rock. The pounding of the waves is what created a break in the walls of Fort Rock.


Nearby to Fort Rock is the Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum. In a hope to save the historic buildings in the area the Fort Rock Valley historical society opened up the village in 1988. Many of the homestead era building that remained in the valley were moved to this location to preserve them.

If you are in this area exploring I very much recommend visiting both locations. During the summer it gets very hot so remember to bring plenty of water. There are a lot of trails circling the inside and outside of fort rock. There is no fee’s at this park so stay and enjoy the site. And yes there is a water fountain at the parking site.

Other Central Oregon locations to visit

Crane Prairie, Crack in the Ground