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Wickiup Reservoir is an 11,000 acre angler's paradise. Camping areas are plentiful, and boat launching ramps are located at most. The Reservoir gets its name from the Native Americans, known as the Wickiups, who used the area for camping during the fall. Wickiup Reservoir is embraced by the nearly pristine Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests - a true outdoor utopia. It is the largest of the Cascades Lakes.
Wickiup Reservoir is located 60 miles southwest of Bend, Oregon, and was formed by the damming of the Deschutes River. It is the second of the US Bureau of Reclamation's irrigation reservoirs on the Deschutes River. The other reservoirs comprising the Deschutes Project are the Crane Prairie Reservoir and the Haystack Reservoir. The Bureau of Reclamation began construction of the Project in 1939, but construction was not completed until 1949 because of delays during World War II. The lake's average depth is 20 feet with depths to 70 feet in the channels. Irrigation drawdowns in Wickiup Reservoir can cause extreme water level fluctuations, although the drops in water level do not appear to have a negative effect on fish population. The Bureau of Reclamation owns the Deschutes Project, the North Unit Irrigation District operates the Dam, and the US Forest Service administers the lake's recreation.
Wickiup Reservoir provides some of the finest fishing in Central Oregon. Although the reservoir supports large numbers of kokanee, coho, brown trout, rainbow trout, whitefish and chub, Wickiup is most highly touted for its brown trout over 20 pounds - with normal catches in the 5 to 8 pound range. A fishing boat is almost a necessity for effective angling, although early season shore fishing is productive. Brown Trout of trophy size are usually caught in the first two weeks of fishing season, because they are ravenous after spending the winter under ice. A 26 pound brown trout was caught opening day in 1998.
There are six developed campgrounds on Wickiup Reservoir, all with toilets and water. The largest, Gull Point Campground, is the most developed with a paved launch ramp. The seven launching areas are for trailered fishing boats and can be affected by reservoir drawdowns. For the geocacher, there are many caches in a five mile area.
All in all, anglers looking for great, exciting trout and salmon fishing should visit Wickiup Reservoir and try for 'the big one'.
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