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Metolius River

Contact Info
813 S.W. Hwy, 97
Madras, OR 97741
41.2 miles
1940 feet


The Metolius River originates from springs that rise from the base of Black Butte, a composite volcano that rises over 3400 feet above the river. The river flows north for 18 miles and then bends east for another 10 miles around the north end of Green Ridge, eventually flowing into the reservoir Lake Billy Chinook. Many spring-fed streams are tributary to the Metolius River and contribute to the high water quality that is characteristic of the watershed. The river has relatively high velocities and little overhead cover except that provided by deep water pools.

The upper Metolius River flows through a basin influenced by glaciation and volcanism. The tributaries flow east off the slope of the Cascade Mountains and traverse zones of lava flows, glacial moraines and outwash sand and fine gravels. The Metolius Basin is a depression identified as a garben, formed by a central block slipping down between Green Ridge and the Cascades.

The hydrograph of the Metolius River is quite stable due to the spring-fed nature of many of the tributaries of the upper basin. High precipitation events occur as rain-on-snow events in late fall or early spring, as well as high intensity thunderstorms in August. The Cache Creek drainage discharges storm runoff into Lake Creek, just above its mouth at the Metolius River. Cache, First and Canyon Creeks have an important influence on the hydrograph of the Metolius and discharge relatively significant sediment loads compared to other Upper Metolius Basin tributaries. Turbidity measurements in the Metolius are generally less than 1.0 NTU during days without precipitation. The ground water recharge has a moderating effect on the summer temperature regime of the Metolius River. Water temperatures decrease as more tributaries enter the river in a downstream progression parallel with discharge. Maximum summer water temperatures seldom exceed 9.0 C at the Bridge.99 monitoring station.

Rainbow trout comprise the majority of the fishery while bull trout are pursued by a minority of anglers. The Metolius River is managed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) with a wild trout emphasis. Be sure and check the ODFW fishing regulations. Only hatchery rainbow trout, kokanee salmon and mountain whitefish may be taken.


Kokanee Salmon
Brook Trout
Brown Trout
Bull Trout
Rainbow Trout
Fishing Methods:
Fly Fishing


41.2 miles
1940 feet
3000 near Black Butte
Camping Info
Above Bridge 99: Riverside Campground, Camp Sherman Campground, Allingham Campground, Smiling River Campground, Pine Rest Campground, Gorge Campground, Canyon Creek Campground, Allen Springs Campground, Pioneer Ford CampgroundBelow Bridge 99: Lower Bridg


Map + Directions

Basic Directions

Wading & bank fishing all along river. There are trails that follow the east & west banks with some access by road with turn outs.

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