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Suttle Lake

Contact Info
813 S.W. Hwy, 97
Madras, OR 97741
253 acres / .4 sq. miles
Max. Depth:
75 feet
3438 feet


Suttle Lake is located about 15 miles northwest of Sisters on the U.S. Highway 20. It is the most important lake in the north end of the Deschutes National Forest, entirely in Jefferson County, just east of the Santiam summit. The lake was named for John Settle, a pioneer of the Lebanon District and was one of the organizers and directors of the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Military Wagon Road project in 1866. While on a hunting trip Settle found the lake, which now bears his name in a corrupted form.

The lake was formed and a terminal moraine, which was deposited by glacial ice about 25,000 years ago during the Suttle Lake advance of the Cabot Creek glaciation. The principle surface input to the lake is Link Creek, which flows out of Blue Lake. The outlet of Suttle Lake is Lake Creek, which flows eastward into the Metolius River. The lake covers an area of 253 acres. The average depth of the lake is 44 feet with a maximum depth of 75 feet. The lake has an excellent population of naturally reproducing kokanee, plus brown trout, whitefish, and crayfish.

Kokanee fishing at Suttle Lake is best in May and June using bait. The most commonly used baits are periwinkles and caddis larva, but night crawler and red egg combinations are also popular. Kokanee sizes currently average 9 to 10 inches. Still fishing from a boat is the best approach, fishing closer to shore early in the season and in the deeper water during mid-summer. The same baits work throughout the season when presented just off the bottom. It is possible to fish from the bank for kokanee near the Suttle Lake picnic area on the northeast corner of the lake.

Brown trout from 10 inches to 10 pounds hide out here, with many in the 3 to 5 pound range. Most are taken early in the season trolling a Rapala near the surface. Late in summer, the brown trout head for the depths. Flashers, lures, and Rapalas need to run deep this time of year. Late in the season is another good time of year for catching brown trout. When late in the day, or anytime light intensity is low, chances of catching a big brown increase. Mid-summer fly fishers troll nymphs and Woolly Buggers near the surface. Early evenings are especially good fly-fishing. Any lure, spinner, or fly that looks like a succulent kokanee fingerling will appeal to the big browns. Crayfish patterns are worth a try, too.

Native whitefish of 10 to 12 inches are usually an incidental catch when fishing for the other species. The fry are a favorite snack of brown trout.

Boats are most commonly used on Suttle Lake, float tubes are adequate, and wading is possible in some areas. There are few areas fishable from shore. Suttle Lake has a koka­nee catch limit of 25 with no size limits, in addition to the trout limit of 5 per day, with an 8-inch minimum, and of these no more than 1 over 20 inches. There is no limit for whitefish. Check the current ODFW regulations before fishing.


Kokanee Salmon
Brown Trout
Rainbow Trout
Fishing Methods:
Bank Fishing,Trolling,Still-Fishing,Fly Fishing


253 acres / .4 sq. miles
Max. Depth:
75 feet
Camping Info
Blue Bay Campground, Link Creek Campground, and South Shore Campground
Additional Details:

Bait/Lure Fishing Methods : Use of night crawlers, red eggs, perrywinkles, white corn, cheese, cheese bait, all combinations of flashers, snubbers, triple teaser, wedding ring, and plugs.


Map + Directions

Basic Directions

Suttle Lake is located about 15 miles northwest of Sisters on U.S. Highway 20

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