This is one of the most productive wildlife areas in central Oregon. Add a superb view of Cascade peaks at no charge and you have a truly special place to visit. The lake's water level may fluctuate significantly from year to year with a corresponding reduction in animal habitat.
Davis Lake is one of the most popular fly fishing only lakes in the Pacific Northwest, producing abundant trophy size rainbow trout. Rainbow trout here are common in the 2-5 lb range during periods of wet years. Largemouth bass were illegally introduced in 1995 and seem to be thriving.
Caution: Road access to the lake's northeast shore and Lava Campground is closed in spring and early summer to protect vulnerable wildlife. The entire area is inaccessible in winter due to snow.
Motorized and non-motorized boats are allowed on this body of water.
There are boat launches at East Davis and Lava Flow areas. There is a primitive boat launch at West Davis Day Use Area.
At a Glance
|Information Center:||Contact the Crescent Ranger District at 541-433-3200 for more information.|
From La Pine, OR: Travel south on Highway 97 for 11.8 miles to Forest Road 62, turn west onto Forest Road 62 for 13.5 miles to F.R. 46, at stop sign continue west on Forest Road 62 for 0.3 mile to Jct. of Forest Road 62-850 and Forest Road 62-855, both graveled. Turn north onto Forest Road 62-850 and follow signs for 0.7 mile to Davis Lake at Lava Campground OR turn south onto Forest Road 62-855 and follow signs for 1.8 miles to Davis Lake at East Davis Campground.
Total Distance: 26 miles. Estimated Time: 35 minutes
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Lake and Pond Fishing
Davis Lake is located at the southern end of Cascade Lakes Highway in a picturesque setting on the Deschutes National Forest and is a large, shallow lake that was formed approximately 6,000 years ago by a lava flow cutting off Odell Creek. The name Davis is taken from “Button” Davis, a nineteenth century stockman for the Prineville area who ran cattle in the vicinity of the lake (ODFW, 1996). Prior to the volcanic eruption, Odell Creek was probably directly connected to the upper Deschutes River. The 3,000 surface acres of shallow water coupled with the primary inlet Odell Creek, makes Davis Lake a very rich and productive aquatic system producing numerous large rainbow trout. Davis Lake is open to fly fishing only.
Klamath rainbow trout have been planted annually to supplement natural reproduction, which was successful until the drought in early 90’s although that was discontinued in 1999. Tui chub have been a problem in the lake, and it is hoped that the piscivorous (fish eating) Klamath trout are dining on the chubs. The wild rainbow population seems to be doing fine since habitat and structure restoration work in Odell Creek.
ODFW Management Policies for Davis Lake
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife currently manages rainbow trout at Davis Lake for natural and hatchery production consistent with the Trophy Fish Management Alternative for trout.
What to Expect
- Vehicle Access: Davis Lake is near the southern end of the Cascade Lakes Highway (FS Road 46).
- Fishing Access: Davis Lakes fishing map page under construction.
- Boating Regulations: See boating regulations.
- Fish Species Present: Rainbow trout (2 to 5 pounds or more), and largemouth bass.
- Physical Characteristics: Size: 1,000-3,906 acres; Depth: 9'-20'; Elevation: 4400'
- When/How to fish: May to October. Get a weekly fishing report from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Popular Fishing Methods: Fly fishing only. To fish the best fishing areas, you need a boat or float tube. Lakeshore is primarily reeds and grasses and muddy bottom, making it difficult to wade and fish from the shore.
- Bait/Lure Fishing Method: Fly fishing only.
- Fly Fishing Methods: Most productive areas are: the northeast end near the lava dam; the west shore between Ranger and Moore Creeks and in the Odell Creek Channel. 12 foot leaders.
- Insect Hatch/Flies to Use: Check the Davis Lake Major Hatches chart below.
- Camping Information: Lava Flow Campground (area is unavailable), and West Davis Campground
Source: Upper Deschutes River Subbasin Fish Management Plan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Upper Deschutes Fish District, October 1996.
It's possible to identify 40-50 animal species here on a spring day. Among them could be three terns (Caspian, Forster's, and black), four grebes (pied-billed, horned, eared, and western), and even non-nesting American white pelican. Woodpeckers respond favorably to the effects of fire by taking advantage of insect activity in dead and stressed trees. In particular, black-backed woodpeckers can be seen within the fire area near this site. Great gray owl are possible on the west side, plus bald eagle and osprey nest at the lake. The riparian shrubbery bordering Crescent Creek conceals ruffed grouse. Rare-to-Oregon birds discovered here include scissor-tailed flycatcher, northern parula, and semipalmated sandpiper. Look for American pika on lava of the northeast shore and Rocky Mountain elk along the west shore. From a boat, you might glimpse lunker rainbow trout or largemouth bass near bulrush reeds at the north shore.
Other Attractions: Yearlong habitat for northern spotted owl is not far away at Davis Mountain and Hamner Butte.
Featured Wildlife Groups:
- Birds of Prey
- Shore/Wading Birds
- Upland Birds
- Hoofed Mammals
- Forest - Lodgepole Pine
- Forest - Mixed Conifer
- Forest - Ponderosa Pine
- Wetland - Lake
- Wetland - Stream
- Wetland - Marsh
- Wetland - Meadow
- Rock - Outcrop
- Rock - Talus