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Diamond Lake: A Year-Round Destination

By Dane Johnson
While it is hardly the natural attraction of the nearby and world-famous Crater Lake, or so some would believe, Diamond Lake is visited five times more often by Oregonians. Diamond Lake has been around longer than Crater Lake, surviving the initial blast of Mt. Mazama’s eruption, and has evolved into a year-round attraction for outdoor enthusiasts.

Diamond Lake, Oregon, Kayak angler, Travis Marsh
Kayak anglers in the fog, including one barely visible in the distance, with the sharp peak of Mt.  Thielsen outlined in the background, is a scene to be expected at Diamond Lake. 

The lake's surface area is 3,040 acres and the average depth is 20 feet. Rainbow trout are planted each year, and although they aren’t native to the area, the vast amounts of aquatic insects allow the fish to thrive. In 2006, tui chub, a bait fish illegally introduced in the late 1970’s, had taken over the lake. Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) effectively poisoned the whole lake, and Diamond has now fully recovered to pre-tui chub levels where seven pound rainbows are once again being caught.

Trolling and bait fishing are the most popular ways to fish Diamond Lake. No live bait can be used, so any kind of bright PowerBait is the go-to for most anglers, especially those bank fishing. Trolling is your best bet for catching the larger trout in the lake, starting at the south end moving up the east side of the lake. However, always look for a convoy of boats; they know where the fish are. Fly fishermen find most success on the south end of the lake where the creeks rush in and weed beds are abundant; belly boats are popular here.
Diamond Lake Ice Fishermen, Mt. Bailey, Oregon
Ice fishermen setting up camp on Diamond Lake with Mt. Bailey in the distance.

During the winter and spring, Diamond Lake is covered with ice and snow offering seven miles of groomed and 35 miles of back country trails for skiers and snowboarders. Snowmobiling is the most popular activity during these seasons, followed by ice fishing, snow tubing, and snowshoeing. Family trips are common during the winter and there is always something for kids to; it’s very child friendly.

Diamond Lake Resort, Beach Scene, Douglas County, Oregon
Diamond Lake Resort has grown from a modest fishing lodge built in the 1920's to a modern, full service, year round, family destination resort. 

During the summer and fall, fishing is most popular. It slows down through late July to early September due to the heat, but from late September on is when the fishing is best. ODFW has opened Diamond Lake year-round to anglers, so there's always a time for fishing. It is a favorite for Rainbow trout fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, visiting Crater Lake National Park, and touring the Rogue--Umpqua Scenic Byway. The lakes speed limit is 10mph, so no water skiing is allowed, making fishing much more enjoyable.

The surrounding environment is beautiful. Looking to the east you can see the 9,184 foot Mt. Thielsen, and to the west the 9,363 foot Mt. Bailey. There is an 11.5 mile trail that circles the entire lakeshore that can be hiked or biked, and during the summer and fall, you’ll likely see thousands of dragonflies, ducks, trout outlines just off the shore, and domesticated squirrels traveling from campsite to campsite in search of human food.

With over 400 campsites, five boat ramps, and a lodge that’s open year-round, Diamond Lake is a popular getaway any time of the year. The lodge offers snow supplies and snowmobiles during the winter, and sells fishing supplies and licenses throughout the year.

Diamond Lake has regained its prestigious stature among anglers in Southern Oregon. Trophy trout are back, so bring a rod and reel and share your photos with thousands of other MyOutdoorBuddy readers!

Welcome to Diamond Lake!

Photos coutresy of Diamond Lake Resort, Pat Stoddard and Travis Marsh


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