I was fishing East Lake with Central Oregon Project Healing Waters (COPHW) last Friday. It was their annual East Lake outing. I’m not a Veteran, but have helped out with COPHW for a few years as a Board member, fly tying instructor, and mentor. I just stepped down from my Board responsibilities.

2018 Central Oregon Project Healing Waters Outing at East Lake | www.johnkreft.com

We rounded the corner and had our first view of East Lake and were pleased the water was flat…NO WIND! Hopefully, this would be a good day.

After launching the driftboat around 9 am, we headed to the COPHW campsite to see if anyone wanted to fish.

I met Ed who lives at Crooked River Ranch. Breakfast was being cooked, but he had already eaten breakfast, so Karen and I invited him to fish with us for awhile.

His rod was rigged up with a sink-tip line and bugger of some sort. We encouraged him to switch his reel to a dry line as we planned to fish the rock wall and try to find a fish eager to eat Beetle Bailey.

Beetle Bailey | www.johnkreft.com

Off we went. I had Ed fish from the bow and Karen behind me as I took the oars. Oh, remember there was no wind??!!??

Ed didn’t need much coaching as he could cast. Only later did we discover he only had about 30 feet of fly line remaining on his reel! For some reason, he had cut the line several times. Maybe he was a little new to this fly fishing game! Much later, he thought purchasing a new fly line might be a good idea. I agreed!

My wife landed 3 fish, while a few others came to her fly. But I was most excited when Ed hooked up on a Rainbow Trout about 17 inches. He played it well, but the fish broke off. Oh, how I had hoped for a picture.

A few Callebaetis mayflies were taken by fish. A couple of fish rose to my RiverKeeper Callibaetis Emerger

RK Callibaetis Emerger | www.johnkreft.com

Occasionally, the wind would start to blow and I thought it would only get stronger… and then it would die down. 

We fished until around 1 pm, with fish rising occasionally for them to cast to.

Upon returning to camp, I stayed with the boat as Ed and Karen went back to camp. He was the first to arrive and quickly stated Karen had three fish to the net. I think he had a great time.

We fished for a few more hours with more fish to our flies…sometimes hooking up, sometimes not. But we had action.

I even fished and was able to land a few. I especially like this picture with Beetle Bailey floating in the upper right corner

East Lake Rainbow Trout Eating Beetle Bailey | www.johnkreft.com

The wind was kind to us most of the day and we ended up fishing longer than I expected. I’m usually on the oars for better control, but was able to use the electric motor so I could fish as well. 

Most of the fish we landed ended up being Brown Trout, which was surprising to us.

East Lake Brown Trout with Orange Tail | www.johnkreft.com

Oh, and this 22 inch beauty…who ate Beetle Bailey.

Large East Lake Brown Trout | www.johnkreft.com
East Lake Brown Trout | www.johnkreft.com

We’ve observed that Brown Trout take the fly differently than Rainbows. They lazily eat the fly and you have to slow down setting the hook or you’ll take it out of their mouth.

Here is one of my fish. I like this picture because I can’t tell if the fish is in the water or floating in clouds.

East Lake Brown Trout in the Sky | www.johnkreft.com

Releasing a Rainbow Trout.

Releasing East Lake Rainbow Trout | www.johnkreft.com

We couldn’t camp with them this year, but I think they had a great time.

Project Healing Waters East Lake Outing | www.johnkreft.com
Project Healing Waters East Lake Outing | www.johnkreft.com
Project Healing Waters East Lake Outing | www.johnkreft.com

I’ve written about other Central Oregon Project Healing Water outings:

Thanks again for your service! 

Enjoy…go fish!

Similar Posts


  1. Such an awesone program!

    I’ve been reading up on East Lake on here John. Thank you for the info! I have yet to fish it, but I’m looking forward to getting there hopefully in August. Im also intrigued with the fall fishing up there. I have some time off at the beginning of October and I’m contemplating heading to East…..so can I drag my trailer and camp up there in October? Cabin rentals? Seems like all the campgrounds shut down before then.


    1. Brian

      Thanks for your comment. Yes the lake fishes well through October. Be sure to read a post from last year entitled Fall Fishing at East Lake (October). Usually you can plan on camping. This year I’ve heard some campgrounds may be closed due to tree thinning. East Lake resort does have cabins.


  2. Thanks John for coming and sharing your Beetle Baily’s – the trip was a great success, thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.