Lake Billy Chinook

Area Status: Open

lake billy chinookThe lake's name honors Billy Chinook a Wasco Indian who joinedthe John C. Fremont expedition in 1843. Lake Billy Chinook, created by Round Butte Dam fills the canyons of the Crooked, Metolius and Deschutes Rivers. Within these three large arms is 72 miles of shoreline surrounding 3916 acres, average depth of 102 ft., with a maximum depth of 415 ft. Swimming around in all that water are plenty of fish! Lake Billy Chinook holds largemouth, and Smallmouth bass, rainbow, brown and bull trout, kokanee salmon, whitefish, and a handful of suckers, minnows and dace.

For boat launch information see Perry South Boating Site.Three Rivers Marina, Cove Palisades Restaurant & Marina, Deschutes arm, and Crooked River arm. 

At a Glance

Closest Towns: Culver, Oregon
Operated By: US Forest Service
Information Center: Crooked River National Grassland
274 SW 4th Street
Madras, OR   97741 (541) 475-9272


Lake and Pond Fishing

Lake Billy Chinook is perhaps best known for its bull trout fishery. The top three state records have all come from this lake, the largest being 23 lb 2 oz. An angler will typically catch bull trout ranging from 14 to 20 inches in length. Although the bull trout is listed as a threatened species with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, current state angling regulations allow for one bull trout to be kept over 24 inches. To ensure a healthy population of these large trout continues for future anglers, Catch and Release is encouraged for all size classes. Kokanee is also a very popular fishery on this lake. These naturally reproducing salmon can range from 12 to 16 inches and be as big as 1 lb. Brown and rainbow trout are also fished for in this reservoir. Although they typically average 12-14 inches some browns have been caught near 10 lbs.

Lake Billy Chinook is open year round to angling except the Metolius arm, which is open from March first to October 31. A tribal angling permit is also required to fish the Metolius arm as well. Be sure to check the Oregon State Fishing Regulations for the most current seasons and restrictions. Remember there is a 10 mph speed limit in each of the arms above the bridges.

What To Expect

  • Vehicle Access: Drive north from Bend on U.S. Highway 97 through Redmond and Terrebonne. Take left turn to Culver & follow the Cove State Park/Tour Route signs to lake.
  • Fishing Access: The campgrounds of Cove Palisades State Park, Main Camp, Cove Palisades, Three Rivers Recreation Area (private), and Perry South.
  • Fish Species Present: Smallmouth Bass, Kokanee, rainbow trout, bull trout, brown trout, mountain whitefish, black crappie, pikeminnow, Chiselmouth, blue chubs, bridgelip sucker, and large scale sucker
  • Physical Characteristics: Size: 3997 acres; Depth: Max 415'; Elevation: 1945'
  • When/How to fish: April- June & Fall for Kokanee are best. Get a weekly fishing report from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Popular Fishing Methods: Shoreline trolling and still-fishing
  • Bait/Lure Fishing Method: Use of white corn with lures, trolling with worms, plugs, red wedding rings, troll in S-curves, and treble hook.
  • Fly Fishing Methods: Fish the rivers (Deschutes, Metolius, and Crooked River) before they get to reservoir and work any submerged structures.
  • Insect Hatch/Flies to Use: crayfish & fingerlings imitations. Hatch under construction
  • Camping Information: Monty Campground and Perry South Campground
  • Resort Information: Cove Palisades Marina

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