Ochoco Reservoir

Ochoco ReservoirA dam constructed on Ochoco Creek after World War I formed the reservoir for irrigation and flood control which allowed for recreation activities. Mill Creek and Ochoco Creek input to the reservoir and the output is Ochoco Creek. 

Except for the campground and dam, almost all of the reservoir's shoreline is private land. Although the campground is owned by Oregon State Parks and Recreation, it is leased and operated by Crook County. Reservoir water is used primarily for farm irrigation, so the lake level drops significantly after spring inflow from Ochoco Creek. When fullest in spring, the reservoir's east end near Mill Creek is shallow with mudflats attractive to shorebirds.

Caution: The highway is single-lane with few locations safe for parking. Observing from the highway or any other public road is best with a spotting scope because of the viewing distance involved.

Boat launching is available at the following sites: Ochoco Lake Park and Lakeshore RV Park (private).

General Information


From Prineville:  At Jct. of US Hwy. 26 & State Hwy. 27 (Main St.), travel east on Hwy. 28 for 7.1 miles to Ochoco Lake Campground.

Total Distance: 7 miles.  Estimated Time: 10 minutes


Lake and Pond Fishing

The reservoir is stocked with fingerling rainbow trout in mid-April, May and June. There are holdover rainbow trout that have been caught ranging from 12-16 inches. As the reservoir is drawn down for irrigation the water is warmer and the fishing for bass and bluegill improve greatly. The reservoir is open year around and because of its location is a great place for ice fishing (from Dec-Feb). The use of cheese & eggs, medium slit shots, 4lb test leader, #14 treble hook for cheese, or #12 egg hook can all be successful. The best time to fish is when the ice is out of the reservoir (mid Feb-early April) with use of cheese, marshmallows, worms, a 4-6 lb line with a 16 inch leader, and slider sinkers. Trolling is best (April-July) using green spotted or black flatfish, flashers with bright colored teaser near the mouth of Ochoco Creek.

What To Expect

  • Vehicle Access: Located 6 miles east of Prineville on U.S. Highway 26.
  • Fishing Access: Ochoco Reservoir accessed along Hwy 26 and campgrounds.
  • Fish Species Present: Rainbow trout, brown bullhead catfish, largemouth bass, black crappie.
  • Physical Characteristics: Size: 1100 acres; 3 miles long and 1/2 mile wide; Depth: 30'-100'; Elevation: 3100'.
  • When/How to fish: Get a weekly fishing report from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Popular Fishing Methods: Bank, trolling & jigging, and ice fishing (Dec.-Feb.).
  • Bait/Lure Fishing Method: Cheese & eggs, medium slit shot, marshmallow, worms, bait and lures from both the bank and boat.
  • Fly Fishing Methods: Flies from both the bank and boat.
  • Insect Hatch/Flies to Use:
  • Camping Information: Crook County RV Park 

Viewing Wildlife

Waterfowl, shore or wading birds, and raptors are a major attraction here. During spring and fall bird migration, you might see Pacific loon, common loon, tundra swan, Eurasian wigeon, black-bellied plover, semipalmated plover, Baird's sandpiper, pectoral sandpiper, Bonaparte's gull, herring gull, and bobolink. During summer breeding, watch for black-necked stilt, Wilson's phalarope, several species of grebe (horned, eared, western, and Clark's), redhead, lesser scaup, gadwall, blue-winged teal, three kinds of gull (Franklin's, ring-billed, and California), bald eagle, osprey, and golden eagle. Small groups of American white pelican may arrive in July to loaf for the remaining summer. On summer evenings, species of bat forage the friendly skies after roosting all day in nearby rock cliffs, talus, and outcrops.

Other Attractions: Prineville is bordered on the south by basalt cliffs that invite raptors and other large birds.

Featured Wildlife Groups

  • Birds of Prey
  • Shore/Wading Birds
  • Songbirds
  • Waterfowl
  • Hoofed Mammals
  • Canines/Felines
  • Bats


  • Woodland - Western Juniper
  • Shrub/Grassland - Low Shrub
  • Wetland - Lake
  • Rock - Outcrop
  • Rock - Cliff
  • Rock - Talus

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