Fly Fishing in Bend Oregon (The Best Fly Fishing Spots & Tips)

So do you want to fly fish around Bend Oregon? Well, let me tell you there is some fantastic fly fishing there.

Here are a few of my favorite places to go.

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Sunset at Crane Prairie Reservoir in Oregon
Source: Photo by Kevin Klatt

Crane Prairie Reservoir

Crane Prairie Reservoir is home of the famous “cranebows”. The Crane Prairie Reservoir is one of the top producing rainbow trout fisheries in Central Oregon.

This can be a great fly fishing area. Rainbow trout average about 2 inches of growth a month during the summer. The record rainbow to date is over 19 pounds, with lots of rainbows in the 4 to 10-pound range. Crane Prairie Reservoir is a Wildlife Management Area. The Osprey, bald eagle and many other waterfowl frequent the area.

Motorized and non-motorized boats are both allowed on this body of water.

For boat launch information see Browns Mountain Boating Site (the area is unavailable) & Crane Prairie Resort.

Float tube launch points are Rocky Point, the end of road 4270-470 and at Rock Creek.

Caution: This site is not accessible in the winter because of deep snow.

Crane Prairie Campground

Crane Prairie Campground is located on the east shore of its namesake reservoir in Deschutes National Forest. it is just off the scenic Cascade Lakes Highway. These very Spectacular lakes, peaks, and old-growth forests set the backdrop for individual or family camping excursions.

Natural Features

Crane Prairie Reservoir is one of central Oregon’s premier wildlife viewing areas. A marvelous array of waterfowl flourishes here. Sandhill cranes, Canada geese, bald eagles, and osprey are just some of the large birds that frequent the area. The adjacent forest is home to the black-backed woodpecker, Williamson’s sapsucker, and mountain chickadee.

On summer mornings and evenings, visitors may see Rocky Mountain elk grazing the lakeside meadows. Deer, squirrel, beaver and an occasional black bear also find habitat in the surrounding forest.


Crane Prairie Reservoir is a prime location for boating and fishing. Fisheries that are close to the site also add to its popularity among anglers.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages populations of rainbow trout, mountain whitefish, along with brook trout and largemouth bass. Fish cleaning stations and a boat ramp are within the campground.

Hiking and hunting are popular activities in the surrounding area.


Crane Prairie Campground offers many sites that accommodate both tent and RV camping, though electric hookups are not available. There are several campsites that are located right on the waterfront.

Sites are equipped with tables and campfire rings that have grills. There are vault toilets and drinking water that is also available. Roads and most of the parking spurs in the campground are paved.

Showers along with a small grocery store is available at a nearby resort.

Nearby Attractions

Nearby Osprey Point is an area for visitors to learn about local fauna and observe osprey nesting platforms that were erected after natural snags toppled from age.

The Cultus River Research Natural Area is about 2 miles north of the reservoir, providing examples of naturally occurring forest and stream ecosystems.

Lava Lands Visitor Center that is in nearby Bend, Oregon. The unique geological landscape of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument draws visitors to the region as well.

Visitors enjoy traveling the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. It is known as Oregon’s Highway into the Sky, which climbs into the clouds on a 66-mile drive through the scenic Cascade Range, weaving past snow-capped peaks and alpine lakes

Lava and Little Lava Lakes

The general season for trout in Oregon is the last Saturday in April and these 2 lakes are usually ready for anglers at that time. The lakes are pretty big so 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.

Lots 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 keeping them to myself.

In April, May, and June when leeches are fished deep on type 3 or clear camo line that will take the majority of fish for me.

But, both lakes see excellent chironomid hatches and some exceptional callibaetis hatches too. You can have a ball fly fishing when these hatches are going on. 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 just a quick 45 minutes from Bend on the Cascade Lakes highway both lakes are easy to access but in the heavy snowpack years you might have to access from the South coming in on National Road 40 from the resort town of Sunriver.

Lava Lake Campground

Nestled in Deschutes National Forest, Lava Lake Campground offers visitors some of the most stunning scenery in central Oregon, along with easy access to an abundance of recreational activities.

If visitors want to hike through towering pine forests or canoe across the lake, this campground provides for both individual and group camping excursions.

Natural Features

Little Lava Lake is located on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range at an elevation of 4,750 feet. The small lake nestled in the mature pine forests with bullrushes and lava outcroppings lining its shores.

Because it is located at the headwaters of the mighty Deschutes River, Little Lava Lake is sometimes referred to as “The Deschutes Pond.”

Wildlife found in the area includes bighorn sheep, pronghorn, native fish, sage grouse and migratory birds. These species, along with many others, depends on the area’s undeveloped wilderness, clean streams, and diverse forests to live.


Lava Lake Campground offers people the opportunity to fish, hike, hunt, ski, and enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year.

For fishermen, this 130-acre Little Lava Lake offers a quiet alternative to its neighbor to the north, Big Lava Lake. It has a depth of 20 ft., the lake has planted rainbow trout, brook trout, and some self-sustaining populations of whitefish and Tui Chub. Oregon’s current state record brook trout, weighing in at 9 pounds, 6 ounces, was taken from the river below the lake. I was wondering what it would be like to hook up with that fish? Hang on baby we are going for a ride.

Bait, lures, flies, and trolling are all acceptable angling methods. The best spot to bank fish from the shore is just north of the boat ramp, but most people enjoy fly fishing from their boat.

The waterfront campground has 44 sites some are right on the water some tent only. Then some are RV/trailer or tent friendly so this campground has something for everyone.

It has the picnic areas, trails, and views of the lake, along with the conveniences of firewood, and drinking water. There are some with flush toilets, that give visitors the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. This is while some can still enjoy many of the conveniences of home.
Lava Lake Campground has a day use area along with a boat ramp.

Elk Lake

Elk Lake is not known as a destination trout fishery like many of its neighboring Cascade lakes in Central Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks Elk Lake with 50,000 trout fingerlings — 30,000 brooks, 20,000 cutthroat — each year in late June or early July. This according to an ODFW fish biologist based in Bend. The lake also has naturally reproducing kokanee, but the main catch is the brook trout. When you start getting into a lot of these with your fly fishing outfit you can almost lose your mind.

The 250-acre lake, located just 32 miles southwest of Bend, has a depth of 25 to 65 feet.

Elk Lake Campground is an older, small hillside campground. It is on the north end of Elk Lake and it offers some opportunities for fishing with access to hiking and horseback riding trails.

Natural Features

Elk Lake has a gorgeous setting, with the Three Sisters Mountains towering over the north side of the lake and Mt. Bachelor dominating the eastern horizon. Nestled in a diverse stand of mixed conifer forest, the brilliant, transparent water of the lake offers visitors a clear view to the bottom.

The Wetlands, along with the diverse forests and rocky slopes that are near the campground. These all provide habitat for shorebirds, porcupine, deer, bats, and the occasional black bear.


It has both motorized and non-motorized boating. Elk Lake provides areas for swimming, fishing, windsurfing, and water skiing. Hiking and horseback riding are popular activities on the Elk-Devils Trail. It follows an old historic route from Elk Lake to the Wickiup Plains Trail, it’s west of Devils Lake.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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