April Outing: Mann Lake, OR
Mann Lake, Oregon is our outing destination for April. Mann Lake is on the east side of Steens Mountain and south of Burns and west of Jorden Valley, Oregon. The lake is a spring and fall fishery. The best times to fish it are April to mid-June and mid-September to October. Lahontan cutthroat will be our quarry. The Mann Lake Lahontan’s grow quickly (14 inches in the 1st year after stocking juvenile fish) and are known for how aggressively they feed. Bank fishing is the most productive method in the spring because fish are feeding in the shallow waters near shore. Float tubes and pontoon boats can be useful but not necessary. The winds can be unpredictable so those fishers in float tubes or pontoon boats run the risk of being blown to the other side of the lake.
There is unimproved camping around the lake and a pair of BLM outhouses and some dirt roads that go around the north end of the lake. Burns and Jorden Valley are both about 2 hours away.
Equipment and Flies
5 to 6 wt. rods; floating line; 9ft leaders, 1X or 2X leaders for streamers and 3X to4X for nymphs. If the wind is blowing a slow sinking line would be helpful. A Hover, Midge Tip or Intermediate line would be best on windy days.
The lake is loaded with snails, scuds, chironomids, damselflies, leeches, water boatmen, and some callibaetis. Standard imitations of these aquatic insects will catch fish here. Recommended flies: Chan’s Chironomid Bomber, Jumbo Juju Midge, Tak’s Chironomid, callibaetis nymph, Pheasant Tail, Prince Nymph, Parachute Adams, marabou damselfly nymphs, Stayner Ducktail, Zugbug, Woolly Bugger, Crystal Bugger, Black Rabbit Leech.
The quickest way from Boise is to go through Jordan Valley, OR. This route takes about 3 hrs. 40 min. The route through Burns, OR is about 5 hrs. 15 min. These directions are for the Jordan Valley Route.
1. Take I-84 W to exit 33a toward ID-55
2. Follow ID-55 to US-95 S and turn south
3. Follow US-95 S to OR-78 W (about 45 miles passed Jorden Valley)
4. About 26 miles up OR-78 W turn left on Folly Farm Rd (may also be the East Steens Rd/Fields-Denio Rd)
5. About 24 miles down this road look for a large wooden sign identifying the lake. (About half of this road is paved and the other half is well graded gravel)