East Lake


It's a dismal rainy, dark day outside. On these days I like to look at photos of fishing trips... it's like a time trip and takes me back to some wonderful times.

For decades, Gin and I would spend our vacation time in the Yellowstone area fishing some of the most famous rivers in the world. When the price of gas became outrageous, we opted to spend our fishing vacation at Oregon's East Lake instead. We'd rent a cabin so we and our dog, Sage, had a home away from home.

I thought I'd share some photos I've taken at East so perhaps you can transport back in your time to think about your favorite stillwaters.

This concerned little guy was helping me tie flies on the picnic table outside the cabin. He also kept tabs on Virginia via the two-way radio. He was watching her to make sure she was okay.

The problem I have with Virginia at East is I can't get her off the water. As some of the photos show, she stays on the lake when everyone else has packed it in.
Thanks for sharing. You brought some memories to my mind also.
Mine were not so much of Oregon, but of Canada. We, a group from the NWFA club, would go up to the Circle W, and fish Hihume. Great bunch of fellows, some great fishing, poker, a few beers and great food. What more could a guy want.

My wife is not bitten by the fishing beast and therefore she does not
travel with me. She was a travel agent and preferred to go places that I had no desire to visit. So we each had our own thing.


John or "LC"
I love East, and I've caught a lot of fish there but no browns that good! My best memory was snowshoeing out from the last campground the week after the opener, pulling the float tube behind me on the snow, and (according to John, the then owner) being the first to fish between the ice cap and the bluff on the far side. Best numbers per hour day I've ever had anywhere.

Thanks for the pictures and the story.


Once I got into flyfishing and participating in the local fly club, plus writing flyfishing articles and cartoons, I guess Virginia was kind'a absorbed into the sport. All my friends are fly anglers. Our house is full of flyfishing artwork. She put in a lot of bank book reading time before she finally started fishing.

She's really a Dry Fly or Die kind'a fly angler but will use whatever is required to catch fish... and at East, it's normally subsurface patterns. We use the two-way radios to keep in touch as I do with my other fishing buddies when fishing lakes. On stillwaters, there's a tendency to float off in different directions in personal craft so the radios help keep us connected to know how everyone is doing and using. I also need to know when someone catches a "photo fish" so I can fin their way for a photo.

While I started flyfishing on rivers, I now have a love affair with flyfishing stillwaters. It's a different game than fishing moving water. I'm one happy camper on a lake during a warm summer day catching fish or watching the eagles.

East has a full range of species you can catch. There were no fish in the lake when it was discovered so it is a 100% man-made fishery. There's browns and bows that the spin guys catch in the deeper water that are measured by the pound and not the inch. Every once in awhile something will grab my fly and snap off the 8lb tippet so you need to plan for large fish when you go to East.

There's also kokanee, brook trout and atlantic salmon in the lake. It is one of my most favorite stillwaters.


John or "LC"
I have to get my head straight about the Cascade lakes. Two decades ago it was so great, and I fished more in Oregon than here. That was when anything under 26" at Craine didn't turn a head and Davis was a no brainer for a good 4-5 lb'er. For me it's been downhill ever since and this last summer was a complete bust. Admittedly it was in late August when expectations should be low. Lava was completely dead except for a proud limit of tui chubs and a couple of dinks, I don't fish Hosmer any more because of the canoe hatch, couldn't buy a strike at Craine but I didn't indicator fish and generally won't, and gave up, didn't fish East as I heard that was dead too and enjoyed some browns on the middle D and 'bows on the Fall.

I'll be back this year as usual, but I think I'll focus on Klamath and East. Klamath has enough pigs to get juices flowing the minute my boat is between me and the water and East is just too cool not to fish. Unless I'm advised to the contrary.....


There's no doubt the Cascade stillwaters have gone downhill. The illegally planted bass ruined Crane and Davis. The explosion in population of Bend and Redmond has ruined Hosmer. Evidently Diamond is the hot spot these days but I've yet to make it down there.

I'll stay content fishing the coastal lakes for planters and adult steelhead during the Spring and an occasional trip over to East during the summer.

It's a shame I must rely on planters but once Crane and Davis were over ran with LMB, it broke my heart and I don't have the staying power required to catch the few remaining bows in either lake.
I don't like fishing in crowds so I haven't been to Hosmer in years.

I like lots of action and I can get that on the coastal lakes and East. Maybe this summer I'll try Diamond.


John or "LC"
I'll trade you a Delta trip for a Diamond exploration--I want to try it too. You're welcome in my boat any time, Gene.


Active Member
I have stayed in those cabins and caught browns that look just like the pictures. East was a wonderful lake and I used to go every fall about the time the first snow started. Have also fished it when it was over half iced in the spring. In the off season it is a beautiful serene place with wonderful fishing. Kicking along the dropoffs over to the white slide always seemed to produce nice browns and once there the Atlantic salmon came willingly to mayflies. A terriffic place.

Nowadays the trip out to Georgetown is an easier drive and there are some brookies in there that will make your eyes water.



Some folks may not know this but Jim Teeny came up with The Teeny Nymph specfically for East Lake. Oddly enough, I don't know anyone who uses a Teeny Nymph at East.


I think I caught one fish on a Teeny Nymph. When I first started fly tying I tied some. Jim Teeny is really a nice guy. I talked with him at length when I was writing an article in regards to East. That was my last where-to article I wrote but I figured it was already a well-known fishery so what the heck. I researched the devil out of the lake and included a sidebar about Jim and the pattern.

He didn't really tie it to represent anything. He was a teenager and his family frequently fished East. He was tying flies for a trip to the lake and his Dad told him to tie anything that looked buggy. The Teeny Nymph was the result. In those days, very large browns would roam the narrow shallow area at the northern end. They didn't use a boat but would sight cast from shore.
During one trip, his Dad took an old black and white home movie of the family fishing for the browns. The fish they caught were huge!

The lake didn't really become popular with fly anglers until a year that mercury poisoning was a problem and the spin folks weren't fishing East but switched over to the sister lake, Paulina.
That's about the time our group started flyfishing East. We are all into catch and release so we could care less if you shouldn't eat the fish. The lake was void of any motor boats or spin folks.

The fly anglers had the lake all to ourselves and with no competition form the Power Bait folks, the fishing was fantastic. From that day forward, it became a destination fishery for fly anglers.

I have black bear in the camp grounds stories but I've rambled on long enough about the lake.

Suffice it to say, East Lake is a very good destination fishery for flyfishing with many high end campgrounds and a resort with a small restaurant and cabins. The weather can suddenly change so you'd want to spend more than just a day or two fishing. We like to fish it in August when the weather changes are at a minimum.


Active Member
Great write-up on east guys!

Last time I was there wind came in over night and filled my beached drifter about 3/4 the way full.

They have planted some great rainbows now to help with the chub. a Canada strain (blackwater i think) and a cali strain. they put special regs for no un-clipped rainbows so these fish can grow to large size to feed on chubs. this coming year the rainbows should be good size but the following year they should be in the 5 pound range, following years they should only get bigger! The problem I always had with east was the small rainbows, always thought they should plant a good species of rainbows for large catch and release and now they have. I believe they did the same type of thing at paulina. I know this is not going over well with the brown fisherman but I agree with this management. hopefully they can co-inhabit.

regs at crane change this coming year to only one fish over 16" and only one native. you may already know this but when I fish it I do not catch many rainbows 16" and under. most are 17 to 20 then 4 to 6 pounds so this change should help also!

Now that east has some good bows I will be doing combo trips with east and crane in mind. And I also have to fish wickiup when it first opens some time, early season browns and also bows to 10 pounds, these three res. are close enough to fish on a week trip. but learning each one to be successful could take years.

But like you Gat I also fish mostly lakes now and am up for the challenge! great pics!!!


Active Member
The picture of that big weed bed pushing out to deeper water has my mouth watering! That must be the one left of the gravel ramp at the far end camp ground.


Active Member
Great destination Gene and a truly beautiful lake. My wife and I love central Oregon, we just wish it wasn't over run with people. Maybe when I retire I can visit and enjoy some of the fall or spring fishing!