A dam constructed on Ochoco Creek after World War I formed the reservoir for irrigation and flood control which allowed for recreation activities. Mill Creek and Ochoco Creek input to the reservoir and the output is Ochoco Creek.
Except for the campground and dam, almost all of the reservoir’s shoreline is private land. Although the campground is owned by Oregon State Parks and Recreation, it is leased and operated by Crook County. Reservoir water is used primarily for farm irrigation, so the lake level drops significantly after spring inflow from Ochoco Creek. When fullest in spring, the reservoir’s east end near Mill Creek is shallow with mudflats attractive to shorebirds.
Caution: The highway is single-lane with few locations safe for parking. Observing from the highway or any other public road is best with a spotting scope because of the viewing distance involved.
Boat launching is available at the following sites: Ochoco Lake Park and Lakeshore RV Park (private).