The reservoir was authorized by Congress in 1956 for flood control, irrigation, and to provide municipal and industrial water. Bowman Dam was constructed and the reservoir was filled in the winter of 1960-61.
Open year-round, the reservoir is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and waterskiing. Stay at the State Park, the local resort, or at primitive secluded campsites only accessible by boat. Situated in the high desert, the reservoir is an important local resource as well as a relaxing tourist destination. The cold, clear waters that flow out of the Ochoco Mountain Range to join the Crooked River and Bear Creek feed it. The surrounding steep canyons, rolling hills, and flat plateaus of sagebrush and juniper trees contribute to the tranquil setting. Enjoy the silent hush of dark nights lighted by an impressive canopy of stars.
- Lodging & Dining – Jasper Point and Prineville Reservoir State Parks are located here, as well as Prineville Reservoir Resort and Motel. Cabins, tent sites, RV hookups, and boat slips are available. The deluxe cabins have amenities such as microwave ovens, gas barbeques, and refrigerators. The rooms at the resort come with one or two beds, bath facilities, and a kitchen. A store and restaurant at the resort can help replenish fishing supplies and groceries, or provide you with a hot meal. Primitive camp sites can be found at Jasper Point, Juniper Canyon, Owl Creek, and Roberts Bay East and West. Most of these sites can only be reached by boat. Numerous small beaches are present throughout the reservoir. They provide more secluded camping, but are only accessible by boat.
- Facilities – The State Park campground is open from April 15 to December 15, though the lake itself is open year-round. The State Park has running water, a fish cleaning house, bathrooms and showers. The State Park has a long paved boat ramp making it available at any water level. Crook County maintains two county boat ramps at the lake.
- Fishing – Prineville Reservoir is open to fishing year-round. Fish this body of water from a boat for rainbow trout, brown bullhead catfish, black crappie, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass. Approximately 100,000 rainbow trout between three and five inches are stocked in the reservoir each May. These fish reach 8 to 9 inches by August and twelve to fourteen inches the following spring. The best fishing is usually from January through June, with shore anglers as well as boat anglers being successful. Brown bullhead and black crappie are very abundant in the reservoir, but are usually small. Brown bullhead fishing is best in the east end of the reservoir near the Crooked River in May and June. Anglers fishing at night with worms, cheese, and eggs are the most successful. Crappie are abundant throughout the reservoir, but are most often found in the more shallow coves where they are easily caught with worms or small jigs. Crappie average 7 to 9 inches with the occasional larger fish taken. Smallmouth bass are abundant, but most are less than the minimum twelve inches. Largemouth bass are not as numerous as smallmouth, but can reach three to four pounds. Bass fishing is generally best during the spring or late fall. Trolling with flashers, spinners, or plugs is very effective. If using flies, try poppers or wooly buggers.
- Recreation – Aside from fishing, picnicking, hiking, wildlife watching, and bird watching, waterskiing and boating are the two major recreational activities on the lake. Small motor boats can be rented from the marina at the resort. Pedal boats are available for rental for a few hours of fun as well. There is a day-use area with picnic tables, and a closed-off swimming area located at the State Park. The day-use area has bathrooms and showers for public use. For visitors with boats, there are beaches all over the lake for day or overnight use.
Recreation Site Regulations
- Keep all vehicles on designated roads
- Park in areas that do not obstruct traffic
- Off-road vehicles are prohibited
- Hunting is allowed only during the appropriate season
- Loaded firearms are not allowed in the State Park
- Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Firewood cutting and plant collecting are prohibited
Catch and Release When you catch and release fish, you are preserving a valuable resource for other anglers to enjoy in the future. Here are some tips on Catch and Release:
- Use barbless hooks or pinch barbs with pliers.
- Bring your catch in gently but quickly.
- Avoid overly large hooks, which injure eyes.
- Avoid removing the fish from the water.
- Avoid using a net; it damages fish skin.
- Don’t touch the eyes or gills.
- Use long-nose pliers to remove hooks.
- If a fish is hooked deeply, cut the line near the hook and leave the hook in the fish.
- Revive your catch by pointing the fish into a slow current and moving it back and forth until it attempts to swim away. Then let go!
Keeping Your Catch
- Do not keep your fish on a stringer. Stressed fish produce chemicals that alter the taste of the fish.
- A sharp blow to the head will kill the fish quickly. Break or cut through the gills and allow the blood to be pumped from the body.
- Clean and ice your fish in the field, removing the kidneys and blood from the backbone and rib cage.
- Store fish on ice so they are not touching each other.
- Don’t store fish in a plastic bag. The slime produced will ruin your fish.
Please Don’t Litter
It spoils the scenery and hurts wildlife. Dispose of fishing tackle (monofilament line, fluorocarbon leaders, lines, lead weights and lures) in a safe manner.
Don’t let alcohol spoil anyone’s holiday. In Oregon, nearly half of boating accidents involve alcohol. Leave the alcohol in camp and bring your lucky fishing hat instead.
Prineville Reservoir State Park 541-447-4363
Jasper Point 541-447-4363