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In a state known for its tremendous cold water fisheries, Brownlee Reservoir is an anomaly—a tremendous warm water fishery, perhaps the best in the Pacific Northwest. Brownlee—a through-flowing impoundment of the Snake that’s due east of Baker City and north of Ontario—stretches some 57 miles along the Oregon and Idaho border, and has yielded state record smallmouth bass and flathead catfish. It’s also home to largemouth bass, bluegill, bullheads, blue and channel catfish, crappie, pumpkinseed…and a few colder water species like sturgeon, rainbow and brown trout, steelhead and walleye.
The secret of Brownlee’s bounties is out—Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department reports show Brownlee is among Oregon’s most popular fisheries in terms of fisherman hours. Brownlee can be accessed from the south at Farewell Bend State Park near the town of Huntington, once a resting place for Oregon Trail sojourners. In the north, it can be accessed near the dam at Woodhead Park, in the town of Cambridge. Hewitt/Holcomb Parks, on an arm of Brownlee above where the Powder River feeds in (near the town of Richland) is another popular boating venue. From here, Brownlee is just a seven-mile boat ride away.
Courtesy of “Boating in Oregon” by Oregon State Marine Board
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