Crane Prairie Reservoir Fishing Reports

playhooky

Active member
June 1-3....water temps around 61. Lots of chop Monday & Tuesday.....fairly tame water on Wednesday. Actually able to thread the Sage on Wednesday. Mountain gazing I missed a take on the second cast with a Sno Cone Chironomid. Should have been on my game as that was my only opportunity with the bug wand. Oh well, large nightcrawlers with a little buoyancy worked well for prowling lunkers on spinning gear. Released a number of wild bows as the catch rate of wild/planters seemed about 4/1 for my boat anyway. Out of curiosity, I tossed a few power eggs. No big surprise those expectedly got slammed also. Stockers were running 16-18" and unmarked fish 20-22". Had to bonk a couple for the smoker!

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GaryP1958

Active member
My home lake thank God my pops built a home at Fall River, nothing better than launching my boat down by the dam and trolling for nice bows, brookies, and some nice Kokes! The view is awesome!
 

fishnfella

New member
Sounds like you played a little catch and release with bait! While Oregon F&G is one of the last backward agencies to not prohibit it,
it should be every sportsman's job to discourage it. Hooking mortality studies done by several state agencies indicate the mortality of
released fish using bait runs from 50% at best to near 70". The fish normally swim off but soon die so many anglers think they are
doing a good thing while killing many fish ...... and their sport.
It's one of the last things OGFG needs to do to keep Crane Prairie good fishing despite probably the heaviest pressure of any lake
in the state. In the meantime guys.......do the right thing......don't C&R with bait.
 

troutmasta

Well-known member
The bait mortality is due to the hook location. There are many studies that show trout can be repeatedly hooked and released in the jaw or mouth and survive with relativity low mortality rates. When you "deep hook" them the mortality rate skyrockets. It's not difficult to discern the difference between jaw and "deep hooked" fish. Also, the sublethal effects of C&R fish are virtually the same across the board despite the catch method as long as the fish were hooked in a low mortality area, such as the jaw or mouth.

Just be responsible and keep injured fish, if its a classic hookset and you don't want to keep it...don't.
 

playhooky

Active member
Sounds like you played a little catch and release with bait! While Oregon F&G is one of the last backward agencies to not prohibit it,
it should be every sportsman's job to discourage it. Hooking mortality studies done by several state agencies indicate the mortality of
released fish using bait runs from 50% at best to near 70". The fish normally swim off but soon die so many anglers think they are
doing a good thing while killing many fish ...... and their sport.
It's one of the last things OGFG needs to do to keep Crane Prairie good fishing despite probably the heaviest pressure of any lake
in the state. In the meantime guys.......do the right thing......don't C&R with bait.

It's not really a criminal act to fish with bait. Been doing it for years and would be willing to bet that most gut hooked fish survive when you simply snip your leader, release em and tie on a new .04 cent hook. I've actually caught fish that have busted off somebody else's leader and the leaders hanging out of their mouth. Trout in particular.....healthy and lively as the day is long so I'm not sure it's as big a deal as some make it out to be. I would agree that when a hook remover is jammed down their throats a few times to remove a deep hook that the odds of those fish surviving might not be that great. Anyway, trout in Crane Prairie have a better chance of survival with a hook in their gut than they do with Osprey or Eagle talons in their flesh.....which anyone on that pool for any amount of time at all have witnessed. My highest catch rate percentage on that fishery has always been with bait.....I'm sure I'm not alone. ODFW apparently does not see it as a threat.


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playhooky

Active member
Crane Prairie Reservoir delivered everything I'd expected as usual the three days I got to be there this week.....sun, wind and chunky rainbows. The "Fish On" day was Tuesday with 2 limits of clipped bows in the boat in five hours. Released several nice high finners during the three days. Anchoring in or just at the edge of channels (deschutes/quinn) is key. Inflated nightcrawlers surprisingly enough only produced one lunker while all others inhaled plain orange PB at about 20-24" OFF the bottom (Carolina slip rig). Better get there soon if you plan on going as the water is beginning to cloud already. Visibility is about 2'.....maybe 30". Of course campgrounds are mostly crammed now so good luck finding a spot. CP is a beautiful spot in the world. Love fishing with those majestic eagles soaring overhead. Cheers!

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Troutski

Moderator
Does anyone know what the snow is like around Rock Creek, planning a trip for opening week. We normally camp on the water on the Rock Creek arm. Any help is greatly appreciated...

Chuck615372
 
On Friday, day 1, I arrived to the lake around 11 AM after driving over from the Portland area. My method was going to be plan out the trips to maximize bass fishing, and fish for trout when I got the urge, because I had been told that the trout were still throughout the lake and I wouldn’t need to stick to channels to catch them. I had researched the northern end of the lake on Google Maps and checked the wind forecast (which is crucial for me in a kayak) and determined I would fish that end the first day. I launched from the resort.

My initial plan was to head to the NW corner and fish my way back toward the launch following the wind, but on arrival I found that the whole eastern shore looked incredibly “bassy”. I worked my way down that side, heading south. I worked my way about two miles throughout the afternoon over about 6 hours. I picked up 10 or 12 bass, mostly in the 1 to 1.5 lb range. I caught them on a square bill crankbait at first, but was getting annoyed with all the hung up grass so I changed to a spinnerbait, and they were hitting it hard! That could have continued indefinitely, but I changed it up and started throwing a swim jig with a paddletail trailer, along with a weightless Texas rigged Senko as a follow up. All of these baits produced fish, especially in mini coves that has shallow grass. They would hang on the grass line.

I then paddled back toward launch and anchored up within eyeshot of the ramp to see about some trout. I used a Colorado rig type set up with a swivel, ¼oz egg weight and small hook I generally use for dropshotting bass. I baited the hook with two orange power eggs and a Gulp! Pinched Crawler. They key I have found with this set up is that the hook must float. If It doesn’t, add another egg or piece of crawler until it does. I tossed this out and within 15 minutes my rod started going crazy. I set the hook and then it went strait. I was bummed so I started reeling real fast, and he was coming right at me! That ended up being about a 16 in hatchery trout, such a beauty. It actually had roe inside. I was surprised by that, and it makes me wonder, at what size do they stock these hatchery trout in Crane? I caught one more about 12 inches before some storm clouds rolled in and I started hearing thunder. It was time to get camp set up anyway so I headed in.

I camped at Rock Creek on the south end. I picked it because the bassy nature of the arm to the east of it. Boy was I right! On night one, I decided to head to a spot I had scoped out on foot. I was throwing a weightless Zoom Trick Worm and caught about 10 decent sized bass in 30 minutes! It was ON FIRE! If you’ve been to Crane, you probably know the thick reedy type grass that grows there. The bass would take the bait and head straight to the bottom of this junk and you’d have to yank em out like a logging yarder. I busted off 3 times on my 8 pound test trying to get them out. This was a place I knew I HAD to come to on my kayak, so I reserved it for night two.

On day two, I began by trolling for trout. I launched from Rock Creek with the end goal being the arm I mentioned before to fish for bass. The water was slick calm with blue bird skies. I tied on an F-4 size flat fish that I have caught lots of trout on in other lakes. It was on about 18 inches of leader tied to a swivel to manage line twist, with a small split shot above the swivel for a bit of depth. I let out probably 30 or 40 yards of line and trolled as slow as I could, just enough to watch my rod tick. After about 30 minutes, I caught a beautiful native rainbow! That was a really cool experience. I wanted a picture but I couldn’t get the phone out and hold the net in the water, so I reserved it for my mind’s eye. Very memorable.

After that, I headed into the arm for bass. It was a really tough bite, I caught 8 or 10 in a few hours. But I saw literally hundreds of bass, some a couple pounds hanging in the shallows. I have seen prowling bass before at places like Hagg lake, but this was something on another level entirely. At any given time, I could look around my kayak and see 20 or 30 bass, just sitting there! I Also saw a few decent sized cat fish among the bass. I was catching them on a 4 inch paddletail swim bait, casting it as far as possible so they couldn’t detect me. They usually hit it at the very end of my cast.

I then headed back to the main lake to fish for trout with my Carolina rig set up. I saw some dark clouds in the distance so I thought a storm was coming in again. I caught one 12 inch trout and when I was baiting the hook again, I saw a bolt of lightning, and that was my call to get off the water. It was only around 4 pm. I went back to camp, had a beer and prepared some things for the night’s dinner, and rigged up to go back to the magical spot from the night before to get one last hurrah in.

I launched from a random bank, which is the beauty of a kayak, I don’t need a boat launch. Just a goat trail and we’re in business! This time I had a couple bait casters set up instead of the spinning rod. One was 30 lb braid to 12 lb mono, and the other was strait 40 lb braid. I put a weightless trick worm on the lighter line set up, tossed it out, and first cast, fish on! I caught 7 fish in the first 10 minutes, it was lights out! Then, I broke off like before, even with heavier line. I said to myself, “I wonder if they care if it’s strait braid?” It turns out, hell no they didn’t care! I went strait braid and caught a total of 30 fish in two hours, sometimes catching them on three casts in a row. I was throwing both trick worms and a Senko style bait by Strike King. Man, that was the most fun I’ve ever had fishing! When the sun had gone down and I had about 10 minutes of good light, I caught my best of the weekend, a nice 3 lb bucket mouth. I thought he had me in the weeds like had happened so many times before, but he just had a lot of fight in him.

With that, I loaded up the yak and headed back to camp. I am going to try to make crane a yearly tradition, it’s such a beautiful lake. I estimate I caught in the neighborhood of 70 bass, and the 4 trout, such a spectacular weekend. In addition to the fishing, I saw the following wildlife: An elk, several deer, a coyote, an otter, bald eagles, cranes, hawks, a roughly 3 foot long yellow racer, and other misc. birds and chipmunks.
 

bass

Most Featured
@portlandrain Fantastic report! That sounds like a truly magical fishing trip!!

The bad news is that you are now ruined for a normal good fishing day :)

It is interesting that in one spot the fish seemed skittish or somewhat lethargic but at the other spot they seemed aggressive and not line shy in the least. Any ideas on what could cause that to happen? Do you think it might have been the difference between fishing in the middle of a sunny day versus the evening?
 
@portlandrain Fantastic report! That sounds like a truly magical fishing trip!!

The bad news is that you are now ruined for a normal good fishing day :)

It is interesting that in one spot the fish seemed skittish or somewhat lethargic but at the other spot they seemed aggressive and not line shy in the least. Any ideas on what could cause that to happen? Do you think it might have been the difference between fishing in the middle of a sunny day versus the evening?
Yeah it was a really good trip that will be hard to top for sure.

It's hard to tell what made the fishing different. The obvious reaction is time of day, and low light compared to bright overhead sun. But the evenings were also sort of post frontal following the afternoon storms. There were obviously pressure changes during those transitions too. If I were able to go in the early morning I might have more info.
But also, the pattern I developed during both days was that they were hanging on the grass lines. In the area I went to both nights, it was a large area that had clumps of grass, so I think they were on the edges of those clumps, but were willing to come out to the bait if it got anywhere near close enough. The water was quite clear, more than 10 feet of visibility, so they had no problem seeing it fall.
 

4labs

Active member
Last day to fish the crane before it closed.
No wind until 2pm as wind alert predicted. Lots of boats in the dead trees still fishing but I'm too wormy for that so trolled all day.
Lots of take downs and some nice fish to the net but nothing huge. One over 20" but jumped like a steelhead at the boat and was gone.
Most 14-16 inch and a few over. Only 3 clipped keepers all day out of 22 fish.
Almost all on 3"flicker shad in brown trout, trolling 2.0-2.4 150-320 back. Biggest fish in the middle of the lake (12ft). Lots of smaller fish on the east side
50ft from shore or 10ft deep.
Lots of ducks and some guys blasting away. Don't know the legality of that since I've never shot from a boat
Trash everywhere at the ramp bears got into the cans
can't wait till next yr
 

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bass

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Nice! I especially love the doggo pictures. We lost our Vizsla last year and seeing dog pictures always lifts my spirits.
 

4labs

Active member
Nice! I especially love the doggo pictures. We lost our Vizsla last year and seeing dog pictures always lifts my spirits.

Thanks
Without the pups I wouldn't hunt and fishing wouldn't be the same. These 2 are my #6 and 7 labs
Vizsla's are soo special. I know the pain all too well
 

NKlamerus

Most Featured
Do I pick the worst conditions or what? Was sunny and warm here 2 weeks ago, and it's going to be about 75 there on Sunday..........

We arrived about noon and it was 42 degrees with cold fronts blowing across the lake about 15mph.

We stayed on the south side and never saw a single fish up shallow, water was about 52 degrees

Caught 3 Bass and a catfish, all tight to structure, dropshot and chatterbait

Really wanted to get out and see the major part of the lake but the wind would occasionally blow the chop up to 1-2'

Camping this weekend is going to be PACKED, saw at least a thousand people heading east up 58 as we came home..most of the lake already had campers and boats

Snowed and rained on us while we were out there, I threw my rain gear in my truck at the last minute and I am so glad I did.
 

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