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Home arrow Opinion arrow Two Waters, Two Adventures


Two Waters, Two Adventures

Morgan Lake and Yaquina Bay share little in common in terms of fishing opportunities.Morgan Lake has rainbow trout and catfish. Yaquina Bay has rockfish, crab, chinook salmon, perch and sturgeon fisheries.

Yaquina Bay is accessible year round. Morgan Lake, by contrast, is often covered by ice at least four months a year.

Anglers never need more than 15-pound test line at Morgan Lake but might need 80-pound test line to pull in Yaquina Bay sturgeon.

Still, both sites have a common angling thread, according to a publication featured on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website, “Easy Angling Oregon!’’

Morgan Lake and Yaquina Bay are both listed in the ODFW publication as among the  34 best places in Oregon for families to fish.

Morgan Lake is about three miles southeast of La Grande. Most of its fish are rainbow trout planted by the ODFW. The lake also has catfish and possibly crappie, both of which were released illegally into the lake years ago.

At April’s annual Morgan Lake Fishing Derby the biggest fish caught was a 1-pound, 8.8-ounce catfish.

Morgan Lake’s status as one of the best sites for family fishing will improve in the future as the City of La Grande pursues a long-term improvement plan at the site.

Plans call for the addition of platforms that will extend out 4 feet on portions of the south side of the lake, said La Grande Parks Director Mark Touhey. The platforms will serve a valuable purpose because the south shore of the lake is rocky.

Long-term plans also call for Morgan Lake to have a permanent host in the summer. The host would assist visitors and serve as a deterrent for vandals. 

Morgan Lake is one of six Northeast Zone sites listed as recommended in “Easy Angling Oregon!’’ The other sites are the Wallowa River, Wallowa Lake, Jubilee Lake, McNary Channel Ponds and the John Day River.

The portion of the Wallowa River recommended for family fishing runs from Wallowa west to Minam State Park.

Detailed information on the the best tackle for the Wallowa River is included. Fly fishermen are advised to use Caddis nymph imitations such as Prince Nymphs and elk hair caddis dry flies.

Bait anglers are encouraged to use worms early in the season and grasshoppers later on the Wallowa. Brass spinners are also effective.

The portion of the booklet  on Wallowa Lake informs readers that lake trout there sometimes reach 25 pounds.

Anthony Lake, in the Southeast Zone, is also listed in the ODFW publication as one of the top 34 best sites for family fishing. The lake is 45 miles south of La Grande.

Anthony Lake features rainbow and brook trout. The trophy rainbows stocked in the lake can reach 17 inches and 2 pounds, according “Easy Angling Oregon!”

The ODFW’s booklet opens with a quote from President Herbert Hoover, an avid angler. Hoover said of fishing:

‘Tis the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of the sun on the blue water...’’

A quote from Hoover is fitting. He grew up in Newberg and returned to Oregon to fish many times after he was president. One place he fished was South Twin Lake in Central Oregon. The lake is one of the recommended sites in “Easy Angling Oregon!’’

Copies are available at the La Grande ODFW office, 107 20th St. For more information go to the ODFW’s website: www.dfw.state.or.us.



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