Metolius River

Metolius RiverThis roadside route begins where glass-clear water surges from the dry ground at Metolius Spring, and continues north to Bridge 99. Special places along the way include the Camp Sherman Fish Viewing Platform, Metolius Research Natural Area, and Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery (phone 541-595-6611). A coalition of government agencies, private utilities, and conservation organizations are working to restore anadromous Chinook salmon and sockeye salmon to the river.

Caution: Stay alert for pedestrians, equestrians, and automobiles that share the narrow single-lane road.

At a Glance

Information Center: Sisters Ranger District
201 N. Pine Street
PO Box 249
Sisters, OR 97759
(541) 549-7700

General Information


From Sisters Ranger Station in Sisters: Travel northwest on Hwy 20 for 9.6 miles to Forest Road 14, turn north onto Forest Road 14 for 4.3 miles to signed entrance to Metolius Spring.

Total Distance: 14 miles.  Estimated Time: 20 minutes


River and Stream Fishing

Rainbow trout comprise the majority of the fishery while bull trout are pursued by a minority of anglers. The Metolius River is managed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) with a wild trout emphasis. Be sure and check the ODFW fishing regulations. Only hatchery rainbow trout, kokanee salmon and mountain whitefish may be taken.

What To Expect

  • Vehicle Access:
  • Fishing Access: Wading & bank fishing all along river. There are trails that follow the east & west banks with some access by road with turn outs.
  • Fish Species Present: Rainbow trout, bull trout, brown trout, brook trout, kokanee, and mountain whitefish are through out the Metolius River system.
  • Physical Characteristics: Size: 41.2 miles (which includes about 12 miles of channel flooded by Lake Billy Chinook); Depth: varies; Elevation: 2990'-1940'
  • When/How to fish: Get a weekly fishing report from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Popular Fishing Methods: Fly Fishing ONLY above Bridge 99; below Bridge 99 artificial flies & lures allowed.
  • Bait/Lure Fishing Method:
  • Fly Fishing Methods: Bank & wading fishing
  • Insect Hatch/Flies to Use: Check the Metolius River Major Hatch below. Barb-less hooks only above Bridge 99. Some popular flies are Gold Ribbed Hares Ear, Elk Hair Caddis, and Little Summer Stonefly.
  • Camping Information: Above Bridge 99: Pine Rest Campground (area is unavailable), Gorge Campground, Canyon Creek Campground, Allen Springs Campground, Pioneer Ford Campground.  Below Bridge 99: Lower Bridge Campground, Candle Creek Campground, Monty Campground
  • Resort Information: Camp Sherman Store 

Viewing Wildlife

At the Camp Sherman Fish Viewing Platform, look for bull trout, redband trout, kokanee salmon, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, and mountain whitefish. At the Metolius Research Natural Area, it's possible to see white-headed woodpecker, northern goshawk, flammulated owl, and Vaux's swift. Visit the Metolius Fish Hatchery display ponds to observe and feed kokanee salmon, Atlantic salmon, and other fish. Anywhere along the river, you might glimpse Barrow's goldeneye, hooded merganser, common merganser, osprey, bald eagle, spotted sandpiper, ruffed grouse, and Hammond's flycatcher. Some butterflies you might see include species of admiral, swallowtail, hairstreak, arctic, copper, and tortoiseshell.

Other Attractions: The Metolius Research Natural Area was established in 1931 to protect and exemplify old-growth ponderosa pine and shrub communities. The La Grande Forestry and Range Sciences Laboratory is studying the effects of reintroducing fire to achieve natural frequencies and to maintain old-growth structural characteristics that are important to wildlife. In autumn, small areas are carefully burned at repeated intervals of 5 to 20 years to resemble the natural fire cycle.

Featured Wildlife Groups:

  • Birds of Prey
  • Shore/Wading Birds
  • Songbirds
  • Upland Birds
  • Waterfowl
  • Hoofed Mammals
  • Bear
  • Raccoon
  • Weasels/Skunks
  • Bats
  • Fish
  • Butterflies
  • Wildflowers


  • Forest - Mixed Conifer
  • Forest - Ponderosa Pine
  • Wetland - Stream

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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