Blue Lake in Fairview, Oregon has been a hit or miss fishing hole for me. It’s a wonderful park with plenty of BBQ spots, gazebos, and a well-known disc golf course. Because it’s such a great park, it gets overrun with people in the Summer celebrating birthdays, baby showers, or just enjoying the sun for the short period of time we get it here in the Pacific Northwest. In the Winter, however, it’s stocked with brooders, which means Winter at Blue Lake is for dedicated fisher(wo)men like myself looking for a cold-weather fishing fix. It’s stocked in early spring as well with legal-sized planter trout. It seems that this year’s planter trout, at least the first round planters, were monsters! What a blast to catch! I started coming to Blue Lake beginning in January and fished every weekend trying to get my confidence up from my poor steelhead results this year. Well, my luck was no better at Blue Lake. I couldn’t figure out the depth of the lake, I couldn’t figure out what the vegetation was like, and I couldn’t figure out what the fish wanted. I resigned myself to believing I was destined to live with a bruised fishing ego.
Well one lucky day I finished my fishing wine, and my fishing snacks, and hadn’t gotten more than one little nibble. So I packed up after several hours and snacks, and was on my way to my car. On my way out I stopped to chat with a guy who couldn’t keep the fish off his lines. While I walk past him and he starting chatting, both of his rod tips went down… hard. You could tell he had something big on the lines. He offered to let me have one of his fish that he had on his stringer so he could keep fishing. He showed me the fish he had and my jaw dropped. I didn’t want one of his fish, I just wanted to catch one of my own… but the fish he had were huge! I would be crazy to turn it down. I did turn it down at first (later he INSISTED so I caved and took one), and asked him how he was fishing. I adjusted my tackle to as close as I could get it to his, and still wasn’t getting any bites.
Eventually I struck a friendship with the guy, and fished right next to him, and then the fish were on! Apparently it really is all about location, location, location! I caught a total of seven or eight fish, released the extras, but hit my limit. The biggest fish I caught, and there were two like this, was nearly 3 lbs and 16″! All of them were over 14″ and all at least 2 lbs. They were like a little steelhead. Just what I needed! Of course I haven’t been able to catch any since, but I don’t want to get greedy.
Now I’m just after one of the brooders that has got to be left in there from their November stocking. I ran into the friend I made that day a couple weeks later, and he had an 8 lb brooder on his stringer. That’s bigger than the steelhead I caught this year! And he didn’t have to put it on his tag! Brilliant! It was beautiful. I will catch a brooder soon, I can feel it.
If you haven’t been to Blue Lake, you should know that half of the lake is private residences, and in the summer it’s overrun with people, kids, and paddle boats. It’s great for winter fishing though, if you can hook into them. I’ve fished on the left and right side of the “fishing pier,” and have the same amount of action on either side. It’s $5 to park unless you have a pass, which I recommend getting if you fish there as often as I do in the winter time. No dogs allowed (sorry Amos, you have to wait in the car), but it’s quiet, it’s only 20 minutes from Portland, and great place to catch some big ol’ brooders in the slow months of Winter in the Portland area.
Have you fished at Blue Lake? Do you have questions about Blue Lake for me? Comment and let me know! In the meantime, tight lines!