Coldwater Native Fish

  • These fish tend to have elongated bodies that average in length of 12"-30" depending on the species and their bodies are somewhat compressed. The adults tend to be found in water temperatures of 65°-75°.
  • Their color depends on habitat, size, sexual conditions, and whether they are in flowing or non-flowing water.
  • These fish tend to spawn in smaller tributaries of rivers, inlet or outlet of lakes. The spawning temperature is usually between 50°-60° F and will deposit as low as 200 and high as 13,000 eggs.

Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus)

  • LOCATION: Mainstream of the Deschutes River from Lake Billy Chinook upstream to Big Falls, Lake Simtusus, Odell Lake, Odell Creek, Squaw Creek below Alder Springs, Little Deschutes River, and the Metolius River.
  • SIZE: Since they are very piscivorous (fish eating) they get to be 20 lbs or more and this will depend entirely upon the food availability.
  • SPAWNING: They spawn in cold tributary streams or spring fed streams in the early fall (September-October) and deposit their eggs in redds. Water temperatures below 9° C trigger spawning. The juvenile bull trout typically rear in the parent stream for two years and then migrate in the spring to larger waters for rearing to adulthood. At 5 years of age they migrate back to their natal tributary to spawn
  • HABITAT REQUREMENTS: This fish can only survive in extremely clean, clear, cold running water. Irrigation throughout the Northwest dealt the first blow to this species by changing the temperature, the clarity, and the flow of the water in its rivers and streams.
  • REPRODUCTION: The fish mature slowly, often spawning for the first time in their fifth or sixth year. Those fish living in more unproductive waters may not spawn until their eighth year. In addition, some female bull trout do not spawn in consecutive years. Although no one is certain how widespread this phenomenon of skipping a year might be, it appears that, in unproductive habitat, it sometimes takes more than one year for eggs to mature inside a female's body.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Harvest of bull trout is allowed only in Lake Billy Chinook and the Deschutes River upstream to Steelhead Falls.
  • REFERENCES: Upper Deschutes River Subbasin Management Plan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Upper Deschutes Fish District, October 1996.

Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

  • LOCATION: Historically they were present in the Deschutes River up to Steelhead Falls, Metolius River, Squaw Creek, small population in Lake Billy Chinook, and in the last 15 years they have been reported near Steelhead Falls.
  • SIZE: The average size is 10-15 lbs, with some reaching 135 lbs this is dependent on food supplies.
  • SPAWNING: They spawn in larger gravel than most fish because of their size in streams of rivers during August and September. Eggs remain in the gravel until hatching in late winter. Juveniles remain in the streams for approximately 3 months until they begin their migration.
  • HABITAT REQUREMENTS: They need high water flow like what is found in the larger rivers, they need larger gravel in the rivers for spawning, and the water quality needs to be free from Agricultural stuff.
  • REPRODUCTION: They remain in Lake Billy Chinook for 2-4 years before returning to their natal stream which commences in April and May, with adults remaining in large, deep pools until they spawn in early fall.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: They migrate into Lake Billy Chinook
  • REFERENCES: Upper Deschutes River Subbasin Management Plan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Upper Deschutes Fish District, October 1996.

Mountain Whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni)

  • LOCATION: They are found in Little Lava Lake, the Deschutes River mainstream from the headwaters to Lake Billy Chinook, Crane Prairie and Wickiup Reservoirs, the Little Deschutes River system, Crescent and Odell lakes, Little Lava Lake, Paulina Lake, Suttle Lake, Odell Creek, Davis Lake, Fall River, Spring River, lower Squaw Creek, Metolius River system, lower Tumalo Creek, and the Cultus Lake basin.
  • SIZE: The larger fish are found in the larger lakes and reservoirs and there is a record fish caught in Crane Prairie Reservoir.
  • SPAWNING: They broadcast spawn over gravel areas of streams in the late fall or early winter (no nest (redd) is prepared. They prefer cold spring-fed streams for spawning. The juvenile hatch in the spring (March-April).
  • HABITAT REQUREMENTS: They prefer large lakes or large rivers where they are generally found in deep pools and the form schools of up to several hundred fish. They bottom feeders consuming aquatic insects and are in direct competition with trout.
  • REPRODUCTION: They become sexually mature at age 3-4 years.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: They are considered to be a barometer of good water quality and have adapted well to the barrage of habitat alteration in the subbasin.
  • REFERENCES: Upper Deschutes River Subbasin Management Plan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Upper Deschutes Fish District, October 1996.

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

  • LOCATION: They occur in the majority of lakes, streams, and rivers in Central Oregon except in Elk Lake, Hosmer Lake, Sparks Lake, and Todd Lake. 
  • SIZE: The average adult weighs from 2-5 lbs but can get to 8 lbs (depending on their food).
  • SPAWNING: The female returns to where she was born to spawn during the spring (March, April, and May) by making their redds and depositing the eggs and then the male fertilizes them. The adults do not guard the eggs.
  • HABITAT REQUREMENTS: They dine on minnows, crayfish, insects, and other small aquatic life.
  • REPRODUCTION: They prefer cold, swift-moving water but can survive in fairly warm water as long as there is enough oxygen in the water. They can be found in water that is 55°-60° F but can tolerate up to 75° F.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: The rainbow trout are land-locked form of the anadromous steelhead because of all the dams in the area that prevented them from migrating to the ocean.
  • REFERENCES: Upper Deschutes River Subbasin Management Plan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Upper Deschutes Fish District, October 1996.

Redband Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp.)

  • LOCATION: Mainstream of the Deschutes River from Billy Chinook upstream to the headwaters at Lava Lake, Metolius River and most of its tributaries, the Little Deschutes River, Crescent Creek, Squaw Creek, Tumalo Creek, and Odell Creek
  • SIZE: Length will exceed 10".
  • SPAWNING: They spawn in rivers and streams during the spring (March, April and May) making redds where they deposit their eggs for fertilization.
  • Habitat Requirements: They dine on minnows, crayfish, insects, and other small aquatic life.
  • REPRODUCTION: They need cool, clean, well-oxygenated water is necessary for the eggs to survive. The fry emerge from the gravel in June and July and they live near where they were spawned. The maturity is 3 years with the size varying depending on the productivity of individual waters.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: They are inland rainbow trout are indigenous to this area. Redband trout are subspecies of rainbow trout and steelhead, and are adapted to the arid conditions east of the Cascades.
  • REFERENCES: Upper Deschutes River Subbasin Management Plan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Upper Deschutes Fish District, October 1996.

Sockeye/Kokanee (Oncorhynchus nerka)

  • LOCATION: Native to Suttle Lake; stocked by ODFW in Odell Lake, Crescent Lake, East Lake, Haystack Reservoir, Elk Lake, Paulina Lakes, and Wickiup and Crane Prairie Reservoirs, from the headwaters of the Deschutes River to Wickiup Reservoir; the balance of fish population are naturally reproducing.
  • SIZE: Average weight is 4 lbs and get up to 8lbs.
  • SPAWNING: They spawn in the fall (September-October), the hatching occurs in winter (December-January) and will emergence may not occur until March-April. The redds are in pea-sized gravel were the eggs and sperm are deposited at the same time. They like the cold spring-fed tributaries and when they emerge they go into the deeper water for rearing to adults.
  • HABITAT REQUREMENTS: They prefer water temperatures of 50°-59° F, water depths from 1-30', and they are pelagic and plankton feeders.
  • REPRODUCTION: They spawn at age 3-4 years old and like all Pacific salmon, die after spawning.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: They are both native and introduced. Paulina Lake grows larger-than-average-size kokanee and holds the Oregon record. Paulina also provide the annual supply of eggs for Oregon stocking.
  • REFERENCES: Upper Deschutes River Subbasin Management Plan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Upper Deschutes Fish District, October 1996.




https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/recreation/fishing/?cid=stelprdb5278200