Water levels have started to drop significantly

Willow Lake - Heppner, OR (Morrow County)

by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Water levels have started to drop significantly over the last 3 weeks. Irrigation shutdowns in other reservoirs have switched things over to Willow Lake. The reservoir is 59 percent capacity and is about 1000 acre feet lower at this time of year than last year. Wildfire smoke has been relatively light up here compared with lower elevations in the Rogue Valley and southwestern Oregon. Check the Butte Falls AQI reading before heading up here.  

Trout, bass, crappie and perch are most prevalent here. Fishing from shore will likely produce plenty of perch and bluegill. Anglers targeting deeper water by trolling will have greater success with rainbow trout. No trout have been stocked since late spring, but there should be fish still present.  

Campgrounds at Willow Lake are open but campfires are not allowed. Boat launching at the improved ramp may be getting difficult with the dropping water. For more information please visit the Jackson County Parks website.

Anglers encountering illegally introduced yellow perch are always encouraged to take as many of these as they want. This illegal introduction has only resulted in stunted perch and impacts to the bass and trout fishery in this lake and numerous others around the Southwest District. Anglers are reminded that using live fish as bait is prohibited. If you see someone transporting live fish from or into a water body, please get a photo and/or call OSP with this information.