On the weekend of the 4th I was in La Pine. Took a drive on Sunday morning to Thompson Res. Only about 12 people camping there. One other boat on the water. About 5 people on the bank. Loaded with fish. Landed a fatty 20" rainbow. Had a 36" follow a rooster tail to the boat twice. Would not bite and could not get the net fast enough!!! If I was looking for an out of the way place to go.....that would be it.
Head south through La Pine. Dont remember the highway number but follow the sign to Reno. When you think you have gone too far, keep goin. You will see signs for the campgrounds. Watch out for the free range cattle. About 1.5 to 1.75 hrs from the turn off at La Pine. Water temp was in the mid to high 40s (which tells me why they were not bitin too good). Stockers were being caught on the bank but that is not what I went for. No kids in the boat = NO STOCKER FISHIN!! I think in about a month the water temp will be much better and get the fish more active. When I woke up on Sunday the 4th to go fishin, it was a cool 26 degrees in LaPine but warmed up to 82 so the water temps should be increasing quickly.
Travel time from McMinnville to La Pine is 3.5 hrs (without traffic), then ad on the 1.5 hrs to the lake. Its a long drive through boring high desert country. Not a trip to take at the last minute. Unimproved camping. No stores anywhere near there. But there is the Cowboy Dinner Tree restraunt.
Almost all the times I have been to Wickiup Res. or East Lake or Paulina lake (even on the 4th weekend) it really was not that bad. Not like Hagg lake on a sunny day.
Very long drive. Would only go back if I was camping for a few days. Its weird......driving through high desert...nothing around but sage brush and then wham! a lake. There are two campgrounds. One is very unimproved with a boat launch that is only good for flat bottom or pontoons (very shallow and soft bottom). The other is on the other side of the lake. Improved camp spots but not all cramed together. Much better concrete boat launch.
It is officially called the Thopmson Valley Reservior. It is listed in the book "Fishing in Oregon" (in the Ninth Edition on page 288.......yes I am behind the times but spend what little money I got on gear and gas instead of a newer book)
Campgrounds were only $6 per day. In-laws were there in Mid August last year and there were very few campers and only one other boat.