Crane Prairie Reservoir
This is one of central Oregon's premier wildlife viewing sites because it attracts so many nesting and/or migrating birds. The relatively shallow reservoir was originally dammed to store irrigation water managed by the Central Oregon Irrigation District. Most access to the shoreline is at recreation sites. Go to Osprey Point for interpretive signs about the local fauna, and to see artificial osprey nesting platforms erected after natural snags toppled from age.
Home of the famous “cranebows,” Crane Prairie Reservoir is also one of the top producing rainbow trout fisheries in Central Oregon. Rainbow trout here average 2 inches of growth a month during the summer. The record rainbow to date weighed over 19 pounds, with abundant rainbows in the 4 to 10 pound range. Crane Prairie Reservoir is a Wildlife Management Area. Osprey, bald eagle and many waterfowl frequent the area.
Motorized and non-motorized boats are allowed on this body of water.
For boat launch information see Browns Mountain Boating Site (area is unavailable) & Crane Prairie Resort
Float tube launch points are: Rocky Point, the end of road 4270-470 and at Rock Creek.
Caution: The site is not accessible in winter due to deep snow.
From Bend: At Jct. of Third St. (Hwy. 97) & Greenwood Ave. (Hwy. 20), Travel south on HWY. 97 for 17.2 miles to Sunriver exit (Forest Road 40), Turn west onto Forest Road 40 for 21.3 miles to Forest Road 46, Turn south on Forest Road 46 for 3.5 miles, 4.5 miles, or 5.0 miles to Shoreline access at Quinn River Campground, Osprey Point, or Rock Creek Campground.
Total Distance: 42 miles. Estimated Time: 60 minutes
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Lake and Pond Fishing
ODFW Management Policies for Crane Prairie Reservoir
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife currently manages rainbow trout at Crane Prairie Reservoir for natural and hatchery production consistent with the Featured Species Fish Management Alternative for trout. Mountain Whitefish, brook trout, and kokanee are managed for natural and hatchery production consistent with the Basic Yield Management Alternative for trout. Largemouth bass shall be managed for natural production consistent with the Basic Yield Management Alternative for warmwater fish.
What To Expect
- Vehicle Access: From Bend the most scenic route is to take Century Drive (Forest Service Rd 46).
- Fishing Access: Crane Prairie fishing map under construction
- Boating Regulations: See boating regulations.
- Fish Species Present: Rainbow trout (to seven pounds and more), brook trout, mountain whitefish, kokanee, largemouth bass, black crappie, tui chub and three-spined stickleback
- Physical Characteristics: Size: 3420 acres, Depth: 11'-20'. Elevation: 4,445 feet
- When/How to fish: Best months are June, July, and August. Get a weekly fishing report from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Popular Fishing Methods: Bait, Lures and Flies
- Bait/Lure Fishing Method: Trout anglers often fish in the channels using, power bait, worms, dragonfly nymphs with a bobber or floating the bait up with a marshmallow. Trout anglers often troll lures, plugs, and flies in the channels successfully. Bass anglers fish with lures, by trolling, jigging or casting.
- Fly fishing methods: Fly anglers usually fish in the channels with a 6-weight rod using a intermediate sinking line or a floating line.
- Insect Hatch/Flies to use: Check the Crane Prairie Reservoir Major Hatches chart below.
- Camping Information: Crane Prairie Campground, Rock Creek Campground, Quinn River Campground, and Cow Meadow Campground
- Resort Information: Crane Prairie Resort
Source: Upper Deschutes River Subbasin Fish Management Plan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Upper Deschutes Fish District, October 1996.
Depending on the season, waterfowl and shorebirds could include Pacific loon, double-crested cormorant, Eurasian wigeon, ring-necked duck, northern shoveler, Barrow's goldeneye, common goldeneye, great blue heron, and greater yellowlegs. Look for a remarkable number of osprey and bald eagle that nest here each year. The adjacent forest holds black-backed woodpecker, Williamson's sapsucker, and mountain chickadee. Bird rarities previously sighted here include red-necked grebe, glaucous-winged gull, and black-throated blue warbler. Especially on summer mornings or evenings, you may glimpse Rocky Mountain elk grazing the lakeside meadows. Look for American beaver or their stick lodges close to shore.
Other Attractions: Just north of the Osprey Point Trailhead is the historic Billy Quinn gravesite with its story scribed on an interpretive sign. Approximately 2 miles north of the reservoir is the Cultus River Research Natural Area, where examples of naturally occurring forest and stream ecosystems 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 - Mixed Conifer
- Forest - Ponderosa Pine
- Wetland - Engelmann Spruce
- Wetland - Lake
- Wetland - Meadow