Diamond Lake Needs Your Help

Aerial view of Diamond Lake (Picture from maxdepthaq.com)

Diamond Lake is facing a new problem this year, and it’s not the tui chubs that have decimated the trout population prior to 2006. This year it’s the trout themselves that could potentially lead to the population crashing once again. With nearly 500,000 trout in the lake they may eat them selves out of house and home.

After the treament of the lake back in 2006 Diamond Lake has reclaimed its spot as one of the best rainbow trout fisheries in Oregon. Plenty of trout over 20 inches get caught every season with multiple fish going over 5 lbs. However, all those large trout put a big dent in the zooplankton and insect populations which support all the trout. Biologist estimate the carrying capacity of the lake at around a fish mass of 100 lbs per acre, and the lake is currently sitting right at that mark. If the trout numbers and size continue to grow at the pace it has, Diamond Lake may revert back into what it was before the tui chub were eradicated. This is where we as anglers come into play.

Joey Bernards caught this 25″, 6lb trout out of Diamond Lake last year. (Picture from Diamond Lake Resort)

Biologist have already cut back on the number of trout planted in the lake, but that won’t be enough. They are asking anglers to help out by taking your legal limit of trout every time you visit the lake. They also just enacted an emergency rule for the lake upping the limit of trout anglers can keep each day beginning May 1st. The limit is curently 5 trout a day over 8 inches, but starting May 1st it will be 8 trout a day, with only 1 being over 20 inches. These trout are very tasty so anglers shouldn’t worry about keeping them. They have a tasty, deep orange flesh due to the fresh water shrimp in the lake, which makes an excellent meal on the BBQ or smoked. The fishing is hot for the entire time the lake is open. Power bait fished on the bottom, worms under a bobber, flies, and trolling all produce double digit days of large, hard fighting trout.

I had the pleasure of experiencing the amazing fishing during the Black Bird 5000 fishing derby in June of last year. Between 4 of us we caught, and released over 100 trout by 1:00 pm. I caught the largest of the day in our boat, and it taped out just over 19 inches and 3.5 lbs. However, it didn’t even place in the top 50 caught during that day.

The lake opens on the 23rd of this month, but will be mostly covered in ice. The Diamond Lake Resort does rent out ice augers for those wanting to venture out, and try some ice fishing. There is also a little bit of open water on the south end near Short Creek and Silent Creek which is accessible by snowmobile, atv, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing.

A limit of 17-20 inch trout caught last year (Picture from Diamond Lake Resort)

If you’re wanting to experience Oregon’s premier trout fishery take a trip to Diamond Lake this year. While you’re there help maintain the amazing fishing and take your legal limit like pictured above.

Tight Lines….

*Update*
Today biologist enacted an emergency rule that will go in effect on May 1st. Starting then anglers will be able to keep 8 trout instead of 5, but only 1 can be over 20 inches. 

4 thoughts on “Diamond Lake Needs Your Help

  1. @ Owl: As far as I know there is no natural reproduction in the lake (although there may be). You’re right that they stock the trout as fingerlings, and they have cut back the numbers quite a bit. I imagine if after this year there are still too many they will cut the stocking all together until things get back into balance.

  2. This is why “catch and release” isn’t a good “blanket” practice in every fishery. I too wish I was out there to help cull the herd. I do have one question though? If there are too many trout, why not just stop stocking altogether. Are they stocking them as fingerlings? (hence the 8 inch size limit) Or are the trout reproducing?

    Either way it seems like the answer is to stop the stocking and let a natural balance resume, if possible(if they’re reproducing). What a “problem” to have! 🙂

  3. Wow, wish I could help out this fishery. Obviously, a unique fishery. Hope that anglers who live closer than I do will do the right thing and fish for and “Keep” fish within regulations for filling the stomach of hungry anglers.

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