Odell lake has to be one of the neatest lakes in Oregon. High atop Willamette Pass it is at the very top end of the Deschutes Watershed. Two hundred and fifty plus feet deep in places I have often wondered just how many kokanee could be in there. It has to be millions. But back to the koks in a minute.
We’ve made a few trips to Odell so far this summer. For developed camping it’s hard to beat Trapper Creek campground. Located right on the lake next to Trapper Creek where the kokanee spawn every fall there’s about 30 well spaced sites it a stand of tall spruce and huckleberries.
It’s a quick trip to the boat ramp which is right in the campground. And as much as I always think, maybe we’ll get to a hike or some other activities, lets face it, a trip to Odell is all about the fishing. You can keep 25 kokanee per day here, and if you get your timing right you can limit well before noon. Well, some people can. I’ve come close a few times but I’ve always fallen short of a limit. The bite is always good before the sun hits the water, sometimes it dies off shortly thereafter, sometimes it keeps going and it’s the wind that ends the day for you.
Sometimes it’s a challenge drag yourself out of bed and be on the water at first light around 5, but once I’m up and out there I am always glad I’m up. Sunrises are amazing and usually come with a variety of colors and a bit of fog lifting off the lake.
There’s usually eagle and osprey doing a bit of fishing along with all the boats on the water. The poor fish don’t have a chance.
Once you find the school willing to play it can get a bit crazy. Kokanee go absolutely nuts and that along with their soft mouths lead you to lose a few now and again. I don’t know how many times I would have limited if I could just get all the fish I had on the line into the boat. Then again, when the day is done and it’s time to fillet them, it seems like a few south of the limit will be just fine. This weekend we fared pretty well. On the water around 5, off before noon and 54 fish to show for it. The fillets filled two gallon ziplocks and weighed in at just over 12 pounds. That will be a month or two of weekly kokanee dinners over the winter.
I’m already looking at the calendar wondering when I can make it back…..