Regional Reports-West

Cultus Lake

In the heart of the Oregon Cascades, trophy mackinaw prowl Cultus Lake. The mackinaw, or lake trout, in Cultus average 12 to 24 inches in length, with many growing over 10 pounds. The largest fish to come out of the lake in the last few years weighed 22 pounds. The lake is just over 200 feet deep, but in spring the fish are usually in water 30 to 100 feet deep. Mackinaw feed primarily on whitefish, so anything minnow-like that flashes silver will work. Some anglers troll Rapalas, Rebels, Flatfish, Kwikfish or Super Dupers with or without downriggers, while others use flasher systems trailing worms or PowerBait. Whether trolling or wind drifting, it's important to use enough weight to stay on the bottom. A fish finder is a big help. Most fish will be no more than 10 feet off the bottom. Macks can be found in the deeper water that runs north and south in the middle of the lake. There is also a deep trough running across the lake from east to west that produces fish. The lake is located about two miles west of the Cascade Lakes Highway, 50 miles southwest of Bend. Anglers are allowed to keep one laker per day at least 24 inches long. Call ahead to check on snow conditions because Cultus sits at an elevation of over 4,000 feet. Contact: Garrison's Guide Service in Sunriver (541-593-8394).