Bass Fishing Near Bend, Oregon

Bass Fishing Near Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon, predominantly celebrated for its trout and steelhead fishing, also offers hidden gems for bass anglers in its warmer waters. This essay examines the intricate world of bass fishing near Bend, highlighting effective techniques, seasonal patterns, and favored locales for pursuing both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Bass Species and Habitats Near Bend

  • Largemouth Bass: Typically found in the warmer, still waters of lakes and ponds, largemouth bass favor areas with ample cover such as weeds, logs, and docks.
  • Smallmouth Bass: Preferring cooler, flowing waters with rocky substrates, smallmouth bass are often found in the region’s rivers and streams, providing a robust challenge for anglers.

Key Bass Fishing Spots

  • Prineville Reservoir: Located northeast of Bend, this reservoir is renowned for its excellent largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing, with abundant structure and warm waters fostering healthy bass populations.
  • Haystack Reservoir: West of Prineville, this smaller body of water offers good opportunities for largemouth bass, with less fishing pressure compared to larger lakes.
  • The Crooked River: While primarily known for trout, certain stretches of the Crooked River also host smallmouth bass, especially in the lower, warmer sections.
  • Lake Billy Chinook: Although a bit farther from Bend, this large reservoir is known for its diverse fishery, including both largemouth and smallmouth bass, with the Metolius and Deschutes River arms providing excellent habitat.

Fishing Techniques for Bass

  • Casting and Retrieval: Utilizing a variety of lures such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and soft plastics, anglers can target specific areas where bass are likely to be found, such as around submerged structures and weed lines.
  • Topwater Fishing: Particularly effective in the early mornings and late evenings of summer, topwater lures can provoke exciting strikes from largemouth bass in lakes and ponds.
  • Jigging: A versatile technique for both largemouth and smallmouth bass, jigging around deep structures or drop-offs can be highly effective, especially in reservoirs like Prineville and Lake Billy Chinook.
  • Fly Fishing for Bass: Though less common, fly fishing with larger, bass-specific flies can be a rewarding way to target both species in the area’s waters.

Seasonal Dynamics

  • Spring: As water temperatures rise, bass become more active, making pre-spawn and spawn periods ideal for fishing, particularly in shallower bays and coves.
  • Summer: The peak season for bass fishing, with early morning and late evening being the best times to avoid the heat and target bass in more aggressive feeding modes.
  • Fall: Bass continue to feed actively in preparation for winter, offering good fishing opportunities until the colder weather sets in, particularly in reservoirs.
  • Winter: Bass fishing can slow down significantly, but mild days may still provide chances to catch less active fish in deeper waters.

Conservation and Ethical Practices

Sustainable fishing practices are crucial in preserving the bass populations and their habitats near Bend. Adherence to catch-and-release principles, especially for larger specimens, helps maintain a healthy fishery. Observing local regulations, including size and bag limits, ensures the long-term viability of these fishing resources.


Bass fishing near Bend, Oregon, while often overshadowed by the area’s renowned trout and steelhead fisheries, offers a wealth of opportunities for the discerning angler. Through understanding the local bass populations, mastering various fishing techniques, and respecting the seasonal rhythms, anglers can discover and enjoy the rich bass fishing experiences available in the region’s diverse aquatic landscapes.

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