This is one of central Oregon's best wildlife viewing sites because it attracts such a variety of nesting and/or migrating birds. The relatively shallow reservoir was dammed to store irrigation water that is managed by the North Unit Irrigation District. The water level often lowers dramatically by October. The easiest access for shoreline viewing is at recreation sites or along the 2.6-mile earthen dam.
The reservoir covers an area on the Deschutes River which was known as the Wickiup's. It was a camping area for Native Americans during the fall. Wickiup Dam was started in 1939, and was completed in 1949. Wickiup Reservoir is very rich, highly productive, relatively warm water and cooler deep channels generate some of the finest fishing in Central Oregon.
Motorized and non-motorized boats are allowed on this body of water.
Caution: Winter access is typically hindered by deep snow.
For boat launch information see Wickiup Butte Boating Site (area is unavailable)
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||April 18, 2023
|Information Center:||Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District, Deschutes National Forest: 541-383-5300|
From Bend: At Jct. of Third St. (Hwy. 97) & Greenwood Ave. (Hwy. 20), travel south on Hwy 97 for 17.2 miles to Vandevert Road (F.R. 42), turn west onto Forest Road 42 for 20.2 miles to Forest Road 4262. Turn south onto Forest Road 4262 for 1.8 miles to Forest Road 4260, turn west onto Forest Road 4260 for 0.2 miles to North Wickiup Campground or for 0.3 miles to Gull Point Campground, turn east onto Forest Road 4260 for 2.8 miles to Wickiup Dam.
Total Distance: 40 miles. Estimated Time: 60 minutes
Lake and Pond Fishing
Wickiup is renowned for its brown trout over 20 pounds and normal catches in the 5 to 8 pound range. Many large brown trout are brought into Twin Lakes Resort to be weighed and photographed, but most people never see the largest fish they hook. Long distance releases are routine. Wickiup also has a reputation for good numbers of kokanee and coho salmon and decent populations of rainbow trout, brook trout, whitefish, and the unwanted chub.
The largest trout each year are usually caught the first two weeks of fishing season when the big browns are ravenous after a long winter under the ice. There are some true giants in here; a former state record brown trout from Wickiup weighed 24 pounds, 14 ounces. A brown trout caught opening day of 1998 weighed over 26 pounds. Larry Marecek of Salem caught the monster brown using a rainbow-colored Rapala.
Wickiup experiences extreme water fluctuations due to irrigation draw downs. Over half of the reservoir's water can disappear over the fishing season. The deepest point in the reservoir, at the intersection of the Deschutes and Davis Channels, is 60 feet maximum depth. Heavy draw downs and very low water does not seem to have any adverse effect on the fishery. In fact, the brown trout may be even fatter after having their finny food source concentrated for them.
A boat is necessary to fish most effectively at Wickiup, although early in the season shore fishers do all right. The best boat ramp is at the west end of Gull Point Campground with another good one just east of the camp ground. The character of the shoreline at Wickiup is as variable as the water level. At full pool, Wickiup is a beautiful, pine-edged lake, with some willows and sandy beach areas. At low water, steep soil and gravel banks drop abruptly to the water. Other banks become mucky hazards. Obstacles emerge at low water including many stumps and structures added in the Deschutes and Davis arms by ODFW.
What To Expect
- Vehicle Access: Wickiup Reservoir is located about 60 miles southwest of Bend off the Cascade Lakes Highway (Forest Service Road 46).
- Fishing Access: campgrounds, boat ramps, and the shore.
- Fish Species Present: There are brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, kokanee, coho, mountain whitefish, and tui chub
- Physical Characteristics: Size: 10334 acres; Depth: 20'-70'; Elevation: 4338'
- When/How to fish: Get a weekly fishing report from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Popular Fishing Methods: Trolling, jigging and bank fishing
- Bait/Lure Fishing Method: Use night crawlers, crayfish sections, red salmon eggs with white corn or white corn by itself, power bait, spinners, plugs, imitating fleeing bait fish, gold or bronze minnow imitations, dark spinners.
- Fly Fishing Methods: Use of sinking lines along points, ledges, and shallower areas at low light
- Insect Hatch/Flies to Use: Check the Wickiup Reservoir Major Hatch chart below. Use of Gold Ribbed Hares Ear, Elk Hair Caddis, and Little Summer Stonefly are flies that can be used.
- Camping Information: Gull Point Campground, North Davis Creek Campground, Reservoir Campground, Sheep Bridge Campground, West South Twin Campground, Wickiup Butte Campground
This is the place to spot waterfowl and shorebirds, including: four species of loon (red-throated, Pacific, common, and yellow-billed); five kinds of grebe (horned, red-necked, eared, western, and Clark's); five species of gull (Franklin's, Bonaparte's, ring-billed, California, and herring); greater white-fronted goose; tundra swan; canvasback; redhead; greater scaup; lesser scaup; surf scoter; white-winged scoter; American avocet; greater yellowlegs; least sandpiper; pectoral sandpiper, and dunlin. Peregrine falcon and gyrfalcon have been observed in late autumn and early winter.
Other Attractions: Pringle Falls Experimental Forest and Research Natural Area is approximately 2 miles east of Wickiup Dam. The Experimental Forest studies (1) experimental culturing techniques for ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine, (2) timber harvest effects on soil moisture and other resources, and (3) the role of fire in natural ecosystems. The Research Natural Area contains naturally occurring ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine forests that are preserved in an unmodified condition for non-manipulative research and education.
Featured Wildlife Groups:
- Birds of Prey
- Shore/Wading Birds
- Hoofed Mammals
- Forest - Lodgepole Pine
- Forest - Ponderosa Pine
- Wetland - Lake
- Wetland - Meadow