Deschutes River: Crane Prairie to Wickiup

crane prairie to wickiupThe Deschutes River in this area is a great wild trout stream and nursery for Wickiup's brown trout population as it flows through a flower-bedecked meadowland. This section offers excellent fishing for brook trout to 5 pounds, a growing number of rainbows, and good numbers of browns.

This is a popular area for big game and waterfowl hunting, wildlife viewing, and bird watching. A favorite place for family outings, the Deschutes has many camping areas. Many other excellent fishing spots are nearby as well as opportunities to watch spawning fish, to boat, and to participate in other water sports. In the winter, this is a popular snowmobile and cross-country ski area.


River and Stream Fishing

At Browns Creek, 4 miles below Crane Prairie, the Deschutes becomes considerably larger. Brown trout present between Crane Prairie and Wickiup Reservoirs, will average 12 to 14 inches, with some much larger. The native whitefish here are typically 6 to 8 inches and up to 15 inches. Packs of them can be seen resting on the bottom of deep holes. Anglers should be aware of varying seasons and catch limits from Crane Prairie Reservoir to Wickiup Reservoir.

Fishing is restricted to flies and lures, and Catch and Release only for the rainbows. A short fishing season (June 1 – August 1) is designed to protect the spawning trout.

What To Expect

  • Vehicle Access:
  • Fishing Access: Forest Service Road 42, 4260, and from the Sheep Bridge and Gull Point campgrounds also at the Browns Mountain Boat Ramp and the Day Use area Mile Camp.
  • Boating Regulations:  See boating regulations.
  • Fish Species Present: Rainbow trout, brook trout, kokanee, and mountain whitefish
  • Physical Characteristics: Size: from Crane Prairie Reservoir to Wickiup Reservoir is 5 river miles; Elevation: 4445'-4350'.
  • When/How to fish: Get a weekly fishing report from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Popular Fishing Methods: Drifting bait, plunking, and fly fishing
  • Bait/Lure Fishing Method: Worms, eggs, spinners, and bobbers
  • Fly Fishing Methods: Bobber and leader
  • Insect Hatch/Flies to Use: Check the Middle Deschutes River Major Hatches chart below.
  • Camping Information: Sheep Bridge and Gull Point 

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

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities