Little Lava Lake

little lava lakeLittle Lava's biggest claim to fame may not be it’s fishing, but that it is the source of the mighty Deschutes River. The state record brook trout, weighing at 9 pounds, 6 ounces, was taken from the river below the lake in 1980.

Little Lava Lake is a small, forest lake about a half-mile south of "Big" Lava Lake. This 130-acre lake has a maximum depth of 20 feet and supports planted rainbow trout average of 6 to12 inches, some brook trout, and self-sustaining populations of whitefish and tui chub. The fishing here is not as good as at Lava due to competition from the tui chub population. However, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife started control of the tui chub in 1997.

Motorized and non-motorized boats are allowed on this body of water. 

For boat launch information see Little Lava Lake Boating Site

At a Glance

Information Center: Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District, Deschutes National Forest: 541-383-5300


Lake and Pond Fishing

All fishing methods work here: bait, lures, flies, still fishing, and trolling which is the most effective. As in Big Lava Lake, lead or sinking lines are needed. The shoreline is similar to big Lava Lake, with bull rushes and some lava outcroppings. The best spot to fish from shore is just north of the boat ramp, but most people fish from a boat. There is a 10 mph speed limit on the lake.

There is a small Forest Service campground Little Lava C. G. with a hand pump, out-houses, and a small concrete boat ramp. This is a good lake for small boats and rafts. It also has a shallow wading area for children near the boat ramp.

What To Expect

  • Vehicle Access: The lake is 38 miles from Bend on Forest Service Road (Rd. 46).
  • Fishing Access: Little Lava Lake campground and boat
  • Boating Regulations:  See boating regulations.
  • Fish Species Present: Tui Chub, mountain whitefish, and (stocked) rainbow trout & brook trout
  • Physical Characteristics: Size: 110 acres; Depth: 20'; Elevation: 4750'
  • When/How to fish: Fishing entire year but could vary. Get a weekly fishing report from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Popular Fishing Methods: Still-fishing and trolling
  • Bait/Lure Fishing Method: Marshmallows, night crawlers, cheese, cheese eggs, plugs, spinners, and flashers
  • Fly Fishing Methods: Trolling flies and use of sinking lines
  • Insect Hatch/Flies to Use: Tied-down caddis, in orange and green, black gnats, mosquito imitations, damsel imitations, ant imitations, dragonfly larva imitation
  • Camping Information: Little Lava Lake Campground 

Source: “Fishing Central Oregon-Third Edition”, 1998. Geoff Hill, Brooke Snavely, and Raven Wing. Sun Publishing, 716 NE 4th Street, Bend, Oregon.

Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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