Three Creek Lake

three creek lakeThe lake is located in a glacial cirque, below Tam McArthur Rim, which was probably last occupied by glacial ice about 13,000 years ago during the Canyon Creek advance of the Cabot Creek glaciation. The outlet stream from the lake flows northward and is joined by two other streams to form Three Creek. The lake is surrounded by old growth forest, and is easy to fish from shore. However, fishing from a boat is the most popular method. The lake elevation is 6,550 feet; it is an alpine gem resting at the base of Tam McArthur Rim south of Sisters. This 28-acre lake has planted rainbow trout and a self-sustaining population of brook trout, ranging from 8 to 15 inches. Most catches average around 10 inches. Trolling flies and lures, fishing from shore, and still-fishing with bait are all successfully used methods.

The shoreline of Three Creek Lake varies from gentle slope to rocky cliff, surrounded by old growth forest. Maximum depth is 28 feet down the center and near the cliff on the south end of the lake. Most of the lake is easy to fish from shore or by wading, but fishing from a boat is by far the most popular method.

Motors are not allowed on Three Creek Lake, contributing to the serenity of the setting. There is a primitive boat ramp on the east shore as well as a small store that rents boats.

At a Glance

Permit Info: The Three Creek Meadow Trail, located near the lake, enters the Three Sisters Wilderness. Some trailheads require a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit.
Restrictions: Motorized boats are prohibited on this body of water. There is a primitive boat ramp on east shore near the store. For anyone who plans to use the nearby Three Creek Meadow Trail, Wilderness restrictions apply.
Closest Towns: Sisters, Oregon
Information Center: Sisters Ranger District
201 N. Pine Street
PO Box 249
Sisters, OR 97759
(541) 549-7700

General Information


See Three Creek Lake Campground


Lake and Pond Fishing

Soon after the lake is stocked every spring, spin and bait fishermen do well near the dam on the northeast corner of the lake. A little later in the season, try still fishing the deep water along the cliffs on the south end of the lake and along the campground on the southeast shore. The largest fish are usually taken from these areas. Trollers do well near the dam, the boat ramp, and along the south end with both spinners and lures. The west shoreline between the two inlet creeks is also a popular trolling lane. Fly-fishing can be rewarding during evening hatches or while trolling nymphs along the west shoreline. Morning and evening are the best times to fish water this clear.

There are two primitive Forest Service campgrounds: Three Creek Campground and Driftwood Campground on the lake which have outhouses, and no drinking water, and a fee is charged. The other campground, Three Creek Meadow Campground/Horse Camp, is about 1 mile toward Sisters. This campground has horse facilities and a general camping area.

The most popular activities at Three Creek Lake are camping, fishing, and swimming, but there are also excellent hiking trails near the lake. Several trailheads originate on the perimeter of the lake as well as back along the road toward Sisters.

PLEASE NOTE: A Wilderness permit may be required, some in advance, to hike nearby trails. Please check out our Wilderness Permit page for more information.

What To Expect

  • Vehicle Access: Three Creek Lake is located about 15 miles south of the town of Sisters. Take the Forest Service Road 1600.
  • Fishing Access: Campgrounds and trail.
  • Boating Regulations:  NO MOTORS.  See boating regulations.
  • Fish Species Present: There are brook trout and it is stocked with rainbow trout
  • Physical Characteristics: Size: 76 acres; Depth: 11'-30'; Elevation: 6550'
  • When/How to fish: Get a weekly fishing report from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)
  • Popular Fishing Methods: Bank fishing, float tubes and non-motorized boats
  • Bait/Lure Fishing Method: Use of night crawlers, white corn, power bait are excellent, spinners, and lures.
  • Fly Fishing Methods: During evening hatches or troll nymphs along the west bank using a zigzag pattern
  • Insect Hatch/Flies to Use: Black & green streamers, dry and wet flies.
  • Camping Information: Three Creek Lake Campground, Three Creek Meadow Campground/Horse Camp, and Driftwood Campground
  • Resort Information: Three Creek Resort


Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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