A relatively mild winter and spring mean more angling opportunities this weekend for the opening of the trout fishing season on several Central Oregon lakes.
Many water bodies are entirely ice-free and accessible, including South Twin Lake, Wickiup Reservoir, Crane Prairie Reservoir, Big Lava Lake and Odell Lake, all southwest of Bend.
“We've had a very mild spring and it's definitely improved early-season opportunity here," said Brett Hodgson, a Bend-based fish biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
According to Jim Frazee, owner of Twin Lakes Resort, all the snow in the Wickiup and Twin lakes area has melted, and all boat ramps are accessible in time for opening day Saturday.
Big Lava Lake, which in the past few years has not been accessible until mid-May, is also ice-free and completely accessible, according to Frazee, although parking will be limited.
Those traveling from Bend to the high lakes must go through Sunriver, as the Cascade Lakes Highway remains closed between Mt. Bachelor ski area and Big Lava Lake.
Frazee says the ice has been off most of the high lakes for quite some time, which should benefit fishing conditions for opening weekend and beyond.
He adds that it is the first time in several years that this many lakes have been so easily accessible for opening day.
“The fish are pretty docile when the ice first comes off," Frazee said. “It's been off Crane for at least three weeks, and on Lava it went off last Friday (April 12). South Twin, it's been off a month; North Twin, three weeks. They're fishing the heck out of North Twin right now."