Fishing Gerber Reservoir Oregon, the state’s best panfish hole
Gerber Reservoir has long been a local favorite when it comes to
Getting to Gerber Reservoir
This reservoir is hidden in the dry rim rock of South Central Oregon. Known for its warm water catch, Gerber Reservoir is one of the best places for anglers to pitch a line in the high desert country of Oregon, which otherwise offers few opportunities. This amazing body of water is located midway between Klamath Falls and Lakeview. Access is easy starting from Klamath Falls, then heading east through Bonanza. Less than an hour on the road and you are ready to do some fishing!
Gerber is a large lake at approximately 4,000 acres. It is used to store water for irrigation so the water level can fluctuate, but that doesn’t seem to affect the fishing. Because of its size and changing shoreline, the reservoir is best fished by boat, although the bank fishing is good as well. Gerber offers many bank angling opportunities in the developed areas, but there an unimproved road provides access on the west shore south of Gerber Dam where more good fishing can be found. There is a new concrete ramp and fish cleaning station located on the north end of the reservoir in the Ben Hall Arm and there is a concrete ramp located near Gerber Dam, as well as a gravel ramp at the southeast end in the Barnes Valley arm. Having access to the water at Gerber is not an issue.
Gerber is known for producing monster crappie and yellow perch (yes, those exist). This body of water has produced a state record white crappie of well over 4 pounds and perch up to 14 inches. Locals report that large crappie over 12 inches are common. In order to catch those crappie it’s a good idea to do your angling during the late spring and early summer in the arms of the tributaries. Some local sage advice for fishermen is to target shoreline areas less than 15 feet deep that offer submerged cover such as rock piles, logs, and willow, unless the reservoir is particularly turbid. In that case, try slightly shallower water.
As far as gear is concerned, use light spinning gear with 4-6 pound test line rigged with around 2-4 feet of line between a bobber and bait or bobber and jig. Local anglers find that some combination of white, yellow, or red and white jigs work best for crappie and perch here. The best fishing for yellow perch takes place during the spring and fall. Locals also tout the ice fishing at Gerber during the winter months.
To top things off, spring, summer, and fall all offer largemouth bass. The move into the shallow and shoreline areas to spawn. They are aggressive during this period and a variety of lures, jigs, and plastic baits can be effective. Gerber also offers up brown bullhead catfish in exchange for worms or baits with a strong odor.
Gerber is a great place to through a line in the water with the kids as well, as long as you stay within the developed areas. There is a park area along the north side just for that purpose.