All waters within Crater Lake National Park are open to
fishing unless otherwise indicated below.
All waters are restricted to use of artificial lures and
flies only. No organic bait of any kind can be used in
Crater Lake National Park. This includes live or dead fish,
power bait, and fish eggs or roe.
Private boats or flotation devices are not allowed on Crater
No Fishing license is required within the boundaries of Crater
Lake National Park.
There are no restrictions relative to size, number, or species
The lake can be fished year-round except when seasonal
limitations prevent safe access. This means about May 20 through
Oct. 31. The only access to the lake is
by the Cleetwood Trail located on the north side of Crater Lake.
Time - Fishing is allowed in the park from 1/2 hour before sunrise to
1/2 hour after sunset.
Cleetwood Cove provides about 1/4 mile of rocky shoreline for
angling. Wizard Island is also open while boat tours are
running. Fishing is allowed from park boat docks except when a
boat is within 200 feet of the dock.
Note - Pack out your catch. Cleaning fish in the lake is prohibited.
Fishing is prohibited in Sun Creek starting three miles upstream
from the junction of Sun Creek and the park boundary, and
extending three miles upstream, as posted. Sun Creek is
protected habitat for endangered Bull Trout.
State regulations are enforced for stream fishing in Crater Lake
Water Bodies within Crater Lake National Park
Please feel free to move or zoom in or out of the map below.
Fish in Crater Lake
In 1888 William G. Steel, considered the founder of Crater
Lake National Park, made the first recorded attempts to stock
Crater Lake. National Park Service researchers believe that
before that time, Crater Lake contained no fish. William Steel’s
motive for stocking the lake was probably to improve the lake's
Around the turn of the century, a regular stocking program
was begun. Stocking continued through the early part of the
century until creel censuses showed that the fish were naturally
reproducing. Six species were introduced to Crater Lake during
this time. The last recorded stockings were silver salmon in
1937 and rainbow trout in 1941.
Later investigations revealed that the naturally reproducing
silver salmon were actually kokanee salmon. Since kokanee were
not intentionally introduced, researchers believe that one of
the plantings of silver salmon fingerlings was actually kokanee.
Of the six species introduced, two remain:
Kokanee Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)
are a dwarf, landlocked form of sockeye salmon. Kokanee are the
most abundant species in the lake, estimated to have a
population well into the hundreds of thousands. An average
kokanee is about 8 inches long, but some grow to as long as 18
Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
are less abundant than the kokanee, but are typically larger.
The largest documented rainbow trout from Crater Lake was a 6
1/2 pound, 26 inch long specimen caught by the park research
team. Most rainbows average 10 to 14 inches.
Rainbow trout and kokanee salmon populations are stable in
the lake. Researchers believe that this stability is due to each
fish species eating different foods. Kokanee feed on zooplankton
and rainbows feed on aquatic insects.
Fish in Park Streams
Although the lake is by far the park’s largest body of water,
fish also inhabit many of the small streams within the park.
These streams are generally not accessible because of the steep
canyons in which they are found.
According to stocking records, two species, eastern brook and
rainbow trout, were planted in park streams. However, a total of
four species have been identified:
Eastern Brook Trout (Salvelinus
fontinalis) have been found in almost every park
Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
were originally planted in large numbers throughout the park.
Today, it appears that their numbers are few and scattered. They
have been collected in recent years from Annie, Bybee, Castle,
Munson, and Sun Creeks.
German Brown Trout (Salmo trutta),
in recent surveys, had one representative specimen found in Sand
Creek above the falls, which appears to be a barrier preventing
upstream migration. Researchers believe that this fish may be
the remnant of an unrecorded or unauthorized planting.
Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus)
are understood to be the only native fish species found within
the park. These less competitive fish are a candidate species
under the Endangered Species Act, and are considered rare in the
Southern Cascades. Programs to conserve this species are now