A couple of high-flying trout at Cottonwood Meadow Lake

Cottonwood Meadow Lake is one of the prettiest public lakes I have fished in Oregon. Cottonwood Meadow Lake is in the Fremont National Forest, east of Lakeview, Oregon, at an elevation of 6132 feet. The lake is 6 miles east of OR 140 via FR 3870 and includes a 21-unit family campground, boat launch, dock, and the lake is stocked with rainbow trout. Only electric motors are allowed for boating.

Cottonwood Meadow Lake

Boat Ramp

The northwest side of the lake near the boat ramp is shallow with depths up to 3 feet. A preponderance of aquatic vegetation grows close to the surface. 

The east side of the lake has depths of 6-12 feet with vegetation-free zones. 

Before I start fishing, I always take a moment to investigate the shorelines for clues to what the trout are feeding upon. The shoreline was teaming with aquatic life including damsel and dragon fly nymphs, as well as minnows.

Here is some noteworthy information on dragon and damselfly nymphs:

Dragonflies and damselflies are cousins, and both spend most of their lives underwater as nymphs. As nymphs, however, their appearances differ significantly.

Dragonfly nymphs typically live underwater for a year or more.

A dragonfly nymph is stocky with a short and bulky body. It is a voracious predator which crawls along the bottom actively searching for mosquito larvae to feast upon.

When frightened, they propel themselves horizontally using short bursts of water shot out of the end of their abdomen.

Dragonfly Nymphs

Damselfly nymphs are long and slender and move in a snake-like motion, wiggling their bodies from side to side. Damselfly nymphs become adults after a year and after undergoing several molts.

Immature nymph coloration tends to be lighter than that of older, more mature nymphs. After each molt, they become darker in color.

Damselfly nymphs travel horizontally to aquatic vegetation or to the shoreline to emerge as adults. 

Damselfly Nymphs

Fishing Report:

Fish were scatted through the lake with an abundance of small fingering trout. When I observed trout sipping adult midges from the surface, I used a cast and retrieve. I targeted areas in between the weed beds using my Olive UV Midge Pupa. Trout took the fly on the pause as the fly was sinking.

Caught on Olive UV Midge Pupa when trout were sipping adult midges from the surface

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Vickie’s Olive UV Midge Pupa

I found larger trout in the east side of the lake in depths of 6-9 feet. Using a cast and retrieve presentation with my intermediate slow sinking line, fish attacked my fly on the strip. 

When the wind picked up, I switched to my Olive and Black Grizzly Bug patterns.

When the fly was retrieved, the undulating motion of the marabou tail caught the attention of opportunistic trout looking for a tasty morsel of protein.

Caught on my Olive Grizzly Bug

© 2019 Stillwater Adventures. All rights reserved

Vickie’s Olive Grizzly Bug

Caught on my Black Grizzly Bug

© 2019 Stillwater Adventures. All rights reserved

Vickie’s Black Grizzly Bug

Cottonwood Meadows Lake is a beautiful location to add to your list when fishing Southern Oregon Lakes. Contact me if you would like additional information on fishing this wonderful lake.

Click here to see a map showing the Cottonwood Meadow Lake depths.

Cottonwood Meadow Lake at dusk

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