Top Places for Bass Fishing in Oregon

Top Places for Bass Fishing in Oregon
Photo By Jeff Samsel

Longer days, higher highs, warmer water... Everything suggests spring, which means bass fishing in Oregon is about to break open. When it does, you want to be in the best place. That's why we've selected waters that are likely to serve up excellent bass fishing this year.

Crane Prairie Reservoir


Until three decades ago, Crane Prairie was strictly a trout lake. In the late 80s, someone let some largemouths go in the lake, which impounds the Upper Deschutes River in central Oregon, and apparently the bass took a liking to the lake's shallow water and plentiful flooded timber. Today, Crane Prairie supports one of the best largemouth populations in Oregon, with good numbers of large bass in the mix, and it is extremely popular with tournament anglers. The bass thrive here because of food chains that begin with all the timber and with plentiful vegetation. Trees and weeds, therefore, are the starting points for virtually any good Crane Prairie largemouth pattern.



Columbia River


Much  of the long section of the Columbia River that straddles the Washington/Oregon border supports a world-class smallmouth bass fishery. Anglers travel long distances to get a taste of the Columbia. Ironically, the river's smallmouths aren't hugely popular locally, so you're unlikely to have much competition when you fish. May ranks among the best  months to fish the Columbia because the smallmouth spawn. Focus on current breaks, whether formed by islands, river bends, rock outcrops or some other factor, and work areas with lipless crankbaits and with jigs or sort-plastic baits rigged on jigheads. Although smallmouths are the main attraction on the Columbia, many backwater areas also yield excellent largemouth action.


Tenmile Lakes

Despite tremendous popularity with bass fishermen, Tenmile and North Tenmile lakes (which are connected by water) continue to crank out quality largemouth fishing year after year. Both lakes support big numbers of bass, but not at the expense of quality. The average size is good, and any fish that bites could turn out to be a giant. One reason the fishing stays so good, despite heavy pressure, is that all largemouth bass that are 15 inches or longer must be released. Both lakes have complicated basins, with multiple arms, and sometimes the bite varies dramatically when you move from one arm to another, especially if the water color is different. Ultra clear water makes the fish in these lakes fussy.

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