Filed Under (Boating Destinations) by Debbie on 21-05-2007

Detroit LakeDetroit Lake in Oregon sits on the western edge of the Cascades about 50 miles east of Salem.  At about 3,500 acres Detroit Lake is one of Oregon’s largest and most popular lakes.It was created in 1953 with over 32 miles of shoreline; it’s about 9 miles long and reaches depths of 400 feet.You can find Detroit Lake from Interstate 5 by taking Hwy 22 east, exit 253.  Plan on about an hour to get there from I-5 and please, pay attention to the speed signs.  This is a nice paved road but it’s important to remember that it was originally for logging and it’s not built for speed.  There are several very tight ‘S’ turns and you really need to take them about the speed indicated on the sign.

DetroitThere are eight boat ramps currently at Detroit Lake that are owned by the State or County and can be used by the public for a small fee and  two that are privately owned.  The town of Detroit is very small and offers a few restaurants and stores, motel rooms are limited but there are several cabins for rent. However, there are plenty of campgrounds.  As far as I know, Kane’s Marina is the only pump-out on the lake.

Be sure to look at the lake map.  There are a few places, especially later in the season that you’ll need to be aware of.  There are many tree stumps (I always call the ‘stumpy’) under water, left over from the timber cleared to build the lake.  At certain times of the year those areas become shallow and I’ve seen boater’s loose a prop to those stumps.  So check the maps.

Rainbow TroutFishing on Detroit is great they stock the fish.  Rainbow trout and kokanee are the main quarry here.  Look for spots where creeks enter the lake, they generally are the most productive.If you’re wanting to wakeboard, ski or hydrofoil then early morning or early evening is the best.  The water should be glass!  So, get up early and hit the water…eat breakfast later.  If you’ll hank on a sail then sleep in and have your breakfast.  Because later in the morning until late afternoon will be best for you!  The wind kicks up the canyon and sailing is great.  There is a bit of a challenge on Detroit as the mountains shift the wind around but it’s fun, fun, fun!

There are lots of great areas you can tuck into on this lake.  Piety Knob offers a small boat-in campground.  Kinney creek, down by the damn offers later day protection from the wind and there’s a beautiful waterfall just off the main section.  If you get there first and can drop your hook, you’ll have a stunning vacation spot.  Cool, serene and verdant, rich in the scent of old growth timber…with some luck you may even see a bald eagle or two! Piety Knob

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