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Deschutes River - Lava Lake to Crane Prairie

Contact Info
813 S.W. Hwy, 97
Madras, OR 97741
7 miles
4790 feet


The river's beautiful setting, ease of access and relatively shortdriving time from major population centers of the state makes it popular for both daily, weekend, and vacation use.

The Deschutes River originates at Little Lava Lake and flows south for approximately 8.4 miles before entering Crane Prairie Reservoir. There are no inlet streams to Little Lava Lake so all water comes from percolating snowmelt, so essentially the headwaters is a spring creek. The sources for the groundwater inflow to Little Lava Lake are snowfields in the Mt. Bachelor and Three Sisters area. In extremely high water years, water flows from Big Lava Lake to Little Lava Lake in a shallow overflow channel. That there is usually no surface inflow to Little Lava Lake indicates a very large groundwater reservoir upslope of the lake (McCammon 1984). One of the most dominant controls over streamflow is the prevalence of groundwater inflow. This is due to past volcanic activity within the basin, The complex geology of lava flows, pumice, thick ash layers and glacial activity is conducive to subsurface flows traveling in large quantities and at relatively rapid rates.

Cover for fish is predominantly woody material, usually found near banks and overhanging vegetation. Occasional large trees provide scour pools. Streambed substrate is predominantly gravel and cobble with a relatively even distribution of pools, riffles, and glides. The 1979 Forest Service stream survey (Satterthwaite) found a total of 18,900 square yards of gravel in the Deschutes River upstream of Crane Prairie. Of that total 3,000 square yards was rated as good and 15,990 square yards as marginal.


Kokanee Salmon
Brook Trout
Rainbow Trout
Fishing Methods:
Bank Fishing,Floating,Fly Fishing


7 miles
4790 feet
4445 at Crane Prairie take-out
Water Access:
At the campgrounds along this stretch of the Deschutes River.
Camping Info
Lava Lake, Little Lava Lake, Deschutes Bridge, and Cow Meadows Campgrounds
Additional Details:

Bait/Lure Fishing Methods : Angling with night crawler, eggs, drifting, plunking, and spinners


Map + Directions

Basic Directions

Forest Service Road 46, road access from Deschutes Bridge Campground, crossing of FS Rd 40, and at Cow Meadow Campground.

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