Urban fishing with my little Micro fisher

With a little bit of sun out my six year old decided that we should go fishing and have an adventure. There is a small creek just a few blocks away that we have never fished and it makes a perfect trip for a child that wants to explore. And it is not far from home in case of an early fall rainstorm.

Urban fishing

Once we climbed down to the creek we discovered a salmon ladder that had been built into bottom of the tunnel. For those of you that have not seen one before a salmon ladder is a series of gradually stepped down pools. These allow a salmon or steelhead to reach area’s to spawn that they would not be able to. Sadly a lot of small streams and creeks like this have culverts in place that have to steep of drop for the fish to jump and swim farther upstream. This is a large part of the issues with increasing salmon runs in the area. In the last decade there has been an increase in pushing to change out a lot of culverts with tunnels and other fish friendly areas.

Urban creek fishing
Urban creek fishing

Now what kid could resist exploring a tunnel under a road. Well since I watched the IT movie as a kid I would be one that would avoid it. No red balloons anywhere at least. As for fish we were able to catch two while we were fishing the pool. One looked to be a hybrid cuttbow (rainbow/cutthroat trout hybrid) and the other was a small salmon smolt that was close to the same size as the lure.

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cutthroat

Later in the season we will need to come back down and see if we can see any salmon coming up the ladder and video them with the camera.

Urban fishing
Salmon ladder plunge pools

To see our adventures please check out our video on YouTube

Urban fishing with my micro fishergirl

And for the gear we used in today’s adventure

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Fall kayak fishing at Hills Creek Reservoir

Fall in Oregon never disappoints for anyone that is a fan of the outdoors. Fishing picks up as the water temperature cools and the fall mushrooms come up. Instead of hunting this year I spent opening day out on the lake fishing with Jeremy in the kayaks. Since it was a normal fall day here it went from wet and windy to nice and sunny to back to a down pour.

Oregon Kayak fishing
Kayak fishing in Hills creek reservoir

When fall hits and the temperature drops in the local lakes it triggers a feeding frenzy as the fish work to fatten up for winter time. Everything was biting in the top 20 feet of water. When we dropped below the 20 foot mark the bite stopped for both of us. Two weeks ago the surface temp was sitting right at 70F, and most of the fish were down 10′-30′. Today it had dropped down to 64F. Since the fish had been so active I dropped down the trolling camera to catch some video’s of the aggressive fish hitting the lures.

Underwater camera

Sadly I did not get a picture of the largest fish I caught which was a nice 18″ native rainbow. Heavy rain and wind makes it a bit difficult to get good pictures. Hills Creek is a great lake to fish due to the large amount of stocked fish and the many different species of fish that can be caught. The lake contains Rainbow trout, Cutthroat trout, Crappie, Largemouth bass, Brown bullhead, and landlocked Chinook. Bank fishing is very productive on the entire lake. ODFW stocks this lake with thousands of Rainbow trout and Spring Chinook every year. As always when you go fishing please always check the fishing regulations and make sure you are fishing within the law. Currently for trout only fin clipped fish may be kept (including any Chinook under 24″)

Oregon Kayak fishing

If you would like to watch the video of us fishing for the day the link is below.

some useful things we use for fishing:

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Blue Lake

  • Trail name: Blue Lake
  • Distance: 1.5 miles
  • elevation gain: 250  ft
  • Difficulty: Easy

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At the edge of the Diamond peak wilderness you can find this small 20 acre lake. The trail is almost entirely flat the entire way as it goes through the forest and through a couple small meadows.  The pull off is easy to miss for the trail head so watch carefully.  Most of the lake edge is very marshy.  But the north side is fairly dry with a several small spots that you can camp.  As with any wilderness camping if you pack it in, you pack it out.  Always leave as little trace of your visit as you can.  The fishing was very good when I went up last in early 2012.  First three casts each caught a brook trout.  All around 8″  in length.  The largest one i saw swimming around was close to 16″.  I wouldn’t expect anything much bigger then that in there. But at 33 feet deep it is possible for there to be a few big ones lurking in there.   This is a great lake to introduce the younger generation to hiking and fishing. A float tube would be a blast if you wanted to carry one in.

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Directions: From Oakridge drive south on hwy 58 until you see the Hills Creak Reservoir turn off (yes turn off).  Follow forest road 21 all the way around the reservoir and up the middle fork of the Willamette river.  Follow it to where it intersects Forest road 2145. .  Take 2145 and drive about 5 miles to a fork with Forest rd 2149.  Turn east on 2149 and go about 4 miles to the trail head.

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Linton Lake

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  • Trail name: Linton Lake
  • Distance: 3 miles
  • elevation gain: 250  ft
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Fishing: Brown trout, Brook trout

Linton Lake was formed by a Lava flow that dammed up the creek running through the valley.  The lake is about 70 acres in size and rests in a sheltered valley at 4000 ft in elevation. Fish in the lake average 8-13 inches, but there are some monsters that live in there up to 10+ pounds. The best time for fishing the lake is right before the snows hit and most people are gearing up for hunting season. This is a great short hike for a family with small children.  If you hike to the far side of the lake there are several small waterfalls on the incoming creek.

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The trail starts out at a small campground along Highway 242 called Alder Springs Campground.  This small undeveloped campground is a good spot to camp with tents.  The sites are too small for much else in the way of camping vehicles. From your car, cross the road, and look for a set of stairs leading up to a trail sign marking the Linton Lake Trail. This is a wilderness access trail so you will need to fill out a short form at the trail head  From here, travel along the well graded trail under Douglas firs. The route is easy to follow and well maintained. The route comes to a closed off junction, then starts a mild climb up a hill to the right at about 3/4 mile. The trail climbs up the hillside then comes to a flat section with many lava boulders. This is the high point of the hike. The trail now descends in a few switchbacks, than you see your first views of Linton Lake at 1 1/8 mile from the road. The route continues another 3/8 mile descending along the lakes edge to a group of campsites at one of the lakes two inlets Obsidian Creek.

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Directions: From the McKenzie River Ranger Station, drive east on Highway 126 about 2 miles to the junction with Highway 242. Then drive about 11 miles up Highway 242 to Linton Lake Trail head, located to the left as you drive.  The trail head begins at Alder Springs Campground.

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Hidden Lake

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Hidden lake is a great little 11 acre lake up the Cougar valley past the reservoir.  The hike in from the road is a short half mile.  If you are going early in the spring the shore line will be very marshy, and it will be difficult to make it to the lake without getting a bit wet.  The trail ends at the stream outflow to the lake with a nice deep inlet.  The fishing is fairly good all year around in the lake.  Mainly due to the difficulty in getting around the lake due to brush there is a low amount of fishing pressure.  I have never actually ever seen anyone else at the lake.  A float tube or a light pontoon boat would be ideal for fishing the lake.  I am thinking that if I add a detachable wheel to my pontoon I can drag it in to the lake for some better fishing.  Another winter project I need to work on.  The largest fish I have caught from the lake was a nice 12″ cutthroat trout.  The trout in the lake that are easy to catch on lures or flies.  Supposedly there are trout up to 16″ in the lake.  That would be nice to catch on a warm sunny day. Snow is usually on the ground until around June.  This is one of the first high lakes in the area that you can get into.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADirections: From McKenzie highway 126 take the south fork of the McKenzie road up past Cougar Reservoir to Forest road 1980 (1/2 mile past French Pete campground). Drive west 3 miles on rd 1980 to a right angle intersection with Forest rd 231.  Turn onto NF-231 until there is a left turn onto NF-230 which is the hard left at the intersection. There is a small sign on the left about 500 yards before the road dead ends that marks the trail into the lake. Using a forest service map of the area makes it easier to find your way there.  The back forest roads are easy to get lost on if you are not careful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMarshy edge of the lake.

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Several great books for the local areas

Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes

Day Hiking Bend & Central Oregon: Mount Jefferson/ Sisters/ Cascade Lakes

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range

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Crane Prairie camping and fishing

craine prairieOf all the places in central Oregon to go this is my favorite.  When I was a youngster my Grandparents would go camping in the area with my sister and me.  Very few places look the same as they did then but I will always love the area for camping.  The north end of the lake has a nice undeveloped campground called cow meadow (called cow camp years ago).  From the campground north along the Deschutes river, ranchers used to graze cattle along the two mile stretch of meadows along both sides of the river.  This ended after they realized how destructive cattle are to the riparian zone of the river.  I always loved walking up the river and seeing the cattle mixed with mule deer as I fished on the Deschutes.  Early in the summer there is a large amount of frogs that crawl out of the lake and make it seem like the ground is moving as you walk.  PIC_0125

There are three other campgrounds along the Lake.  Quinn River, Rock Creek, and Crane Prairie resort.  There is no boat launch at Cow meadow so if you want to fish the lake you will have to stay at one of these three.  Crane Prairie is one of the most productive lakes in Oregon for growing large quantities of fish.  Rainbow and brook trout are the primary fish caught.  The kokanee have a strong population in the lake but they are the smaller of the two varieties that can be caught in Oregon lakes.  In the last decade illegally introduced largemouth bass have multiplied and become a major part of the catch.  It is not uncommon to hear of some one catching bass up to 10 pounds from the lake.  I am much more of a trout fisherman so I will stick to fly fishing for brook trout and rainbows.  The edges of the lake are extremely shallow and marshy in most areas so the best way to catch fish is to have a boat or my favorite a pontoon boat.

Other Central Oregon places to see

Fort Rock, Crack in the ground