The Oregon Seal Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
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DETROIT LAKE:

Getting There: Adjacent to Highway 22, about 50 miles east of Salem.

Fisheries: ODFW releases 125,000 catchable-sized (8 to 12 inch) rainbow trout between April and October, along with fingerling rainbow, kokanee and chinook. Rainbow trout average 11 to 13 inches by mid-summer. During their third summer, kokanee average 13 to 16 inches. Landlocked chinook are available all year but are most plentiful in the spring fishery as one- or two-year-olds ranging from 9 to 18 inches. A healthy self-sustaining population of brown bullhead catfish is also present in the lake. Recent illegal introductions of largemouth bass and pumpkinseed sunfish have occurred.

Useful Information: Submerged tree stumps at all elevations of the reservoir can be hazardous to boaters and skiers. Boaters should be careful in shallow areas. Anglers may snag gear on these stumps if they are trolling too close to the bottom. Strong winds blow up the canyon in the late morning and blow all afternoon, often making the main body of the lake quite rough. Moving into the arms or upper end of the reservoir will offer some protection.

Tackle & Techniques: Angling for rainbow trout is most successful in the spring, early summer and fall when surface temperatures are cooler. Rainbow trout hang out closer to the surface than kokanee or chinook, even when the water warms. By mid-summer, trout releases are mostly in the North Santiam arm where the largest volume of cold water is entering the reservoir. Because the water is generally clear, flashers are an effective attractant and trout can be taken by trolling a small spinner, such as a Panther-Martin or Rooster Tail, or a piece of nightcrawler behind the flasher.

Bank anglers can toss spinners or fish with worm, PowerBait or salmon eggs floated off the bottom. Kokanee and chinook like cooler temperatures and descend deeper into the water as summer sun warms the lake. By late July or August most of the kokanee may be 80-100 feet deep. Downriggers are a definite advantage, but with sufficient weight and a heavier fishing pole, the kokanee can be reached. Common techniques include jigging with buzz bombs or kokanee jigs, often pink or red work effectively, and trolling using a Ford Fender or other flasher with a spinner, such as a wedding ring, behind it and some white corn or piece of worm on the hooks. Kokanee have a weak bite and often a small treble hook catches more fish than a single hook, especially if the angler is not experienced in fishing for them. In the spring, before the water gets too warm, all of these species can be caught near the surface. Anglers fishing off the dam do quite well during this time as the salmon species are preparing to leave the reservoir.

Facilities: There are several boat ramps and USFS and state camping and day-use activities. ADA facilities are well-developed near the boat ramp at Hoover Campground on the North Santiam arm. Boat rentals and other amenities are available at Kane’s Marina and the Detroit Lake Resort.

Fees: Yes, for overnight and day use.

Alternate Activities: The water warms enough that swimming and other water sports become the primary attraction from June through August, though fish resources are still plentiful.

For More Information:
ODFW Corvallis Office - 541-757-4186
Kane’s Detroit Lake Marina - 503-854-3362
Detroit Lake State Park Visitor Center - 503-854-9140