Mostly Mann


This cold weather reminds me of our once annual March trip to Mann Lake.

Ah yes, Mann Lake. You drive to the middle of nowhere and then a little further.

The lake is much too far away from Corvallis for us to drive to in one day -- some however, did. Our group would stop in Burns and use that as base camp. From there we could fish both Mann and Chickahominy Reservoir.

Mann Lake is basically a large mud puddle with the Steins Mountains shooting up on the western side. The rest of the area around the lake is nothing but desert and sagebrush. In March, it is the most miserable place you can fish on the planet. The wind blows 500 miles per hour and there is no shelter... other than sagebrush. So while the fishing can be good, you WILL suffer to catch the Lahontans.

Chick is the ugliest place we fish. There are some shots in the clip of Chick taken in October. One of our best trips to the desert lakes was during October... you'll see a change in the shots from winter to Fall.

The rainbow in Chick are far superior fighters than the slug cutts in Mann. So, both lakes have their pluses but can also can be frozen hell.

So, if you're really keen to freeze your butt off... there's Mann in March.

Here we go.........


Teenage Entomologist

Gotta love the pteronarcys.
But what about the redband trout reserve right next to Mann?! Steens Wilderness is on my top 10 list to fish, for the redbands in the Aspen covered streams. Nice video too

Teenage Entomologist

Gotta love the pteronarcys.
I've been known as the guy you can't hide secret fishing spots from. I use google earth, the internet, and local knowledge. Poor dried up Alvord, which had the Alvord cutties. I don't know about Juniper Lake though. I'll visit Mann Lakes one of these days.


For years, I absolutely hated fishing Mann and it hated me. The other guys would catch fish and I'd catch nothing.

One year we decided to try the other side of the lake. From then on I started catching cutts.

The weird thing about Mann is how close the cutts cruise the shoreline. An effective technique is to wade out to waste deep, turn around and fish back toward shore.

I invented "land trolling" at Mann. I found I could make a long cast into the lake and start walking the shoreline while "trolling" the fly close to the weeds. It worked! But only in specific areas of the lake.

As far as the warnings about the cold and wind... I'm just tell'n it like it is.

We once stopped at Chick before we reached Burns to give it a try in the evening. It was a bright, sunny day but cold as cold can be and of course the wind was blowing. We got ice in our rod guides on a sunny day!


BTW: if you do go to Mann, I hope you have good tires on your rig.

You'll notice the gravel road in the clip... they use heavy-duty (I'm talking railroad grade) gravel and it will take out wimpy tires. Flats are extremely common on that road.


You'll notice the football shape of the rainbow in Chic. They grow fatter faster than they do long... they always have. Word is the reservoir is full of scuds (regardless of the fact that I've never caught a trout there using a scud pattern) and the protein makes the trout grow into footballs.

It's an irrigation reservoir so during a drought -- which comes around every five or six years -- they drain the reservoir down to nothing. When that happens, the ODF&W removes the catch limit because the trout are doomed.

However, they'll replant the trout and within a few years the planters are back to the football size again. Whatever there is to eat in the lake, it makes the trout grow very quickly. The lake is so ugly I can't recommend it as a destination fishery. But if you're in the area and fishing the other lakes in the region, it's certainly worth a stop.

We call the cutts in Mann "Slug Cutts" because, while they grow to the 20-inch plus range, they don't fight worth a hoot. The trout in Chic are much better fighters.

Oh... and because Mann is an alkaline lake, the water will suck any moisture out of your hands in quick order. I highly recommend you take plenty of hand moisturizer with you when fishing Mann. It's an odd fishery and once known as "the secret lake".

Yeah, it was a secret alright but it ain't easy to get to and the weather can be very, very nasty. The wind blowing off the snow on the Steins is bitter cold.

Just so you know the downside of the place... During a good year, you'll catch a lot of cutts and many will be quite large, but you'll suffer for them! Considering all the downsides, I can't believe we made an annual trip there every March... but fly anglers are a bit crazy when it comes to a ton of large trout that are more than willing to take fly patterns.

You do not need a floating device and I'd actually recommend you don't bother taking one with you. Wading into the lake has proven to be the best tactic.


Active Member
Last time I was over that way, Chic was so low it looked like a mud puddle and was closed to fishing. Also, during that trip, Mann Lake was contaminated with gold fish! It has since been rehabilitated(poisoned) and restocked with Lahontans. Fortunately, one of my favorite trout streams in Oregon is close by in the Steens.