October 2014

October 2014
Day Trip to Oakridge Oct 2014

Friday, May 4, 2012

We’re Off To See the Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Falls

Those of you who are regular readers know we are weird in the fact that we love fish hatcheries.  It’s not the little bitty fishes or even the great big lunkers that draw us – it’s most often the setting.  Forest service fish hatcheries seem to be located in some beautiful natural surroundings and there is always something interesting to see.

Wizard Falls fish hatchery in Camp Sherman, OR is one of these places we love.  It is one of the larger hatcheries and even has an indoor area where the smolts are reared from eggs.  You can look in the window but cannot go inside.

Wizard Falls is named for the portion of the Metolius that you must cross to enter the grounds.  There is a large dirt parking area for RVs before you cross the bridge but cars can get closer by driving over the one lane bridge.
The Metolius River is always beautiful but is especially breathtaking at Wizard Falls.
Yes, it really does have a turquoise streak down the middle. 
The grounds have the typical concrete holding tanks, but here they also have a large settling pond with three observation decks.  In the summer, the forest service sponsors a “Teach your kid to fish day” and all the little rug rats get to come here and fish for free.  But don’t try that on any other day!!
As soon as we were on the deck the fish started congregating right in front of us.  There are coin operated machines all around the park that dispense fish food – and those fish are no dummies!  Russ started tossing food and I started clicking and the fish really put on a show for us.

Just look at that beautiful rainbow trout.  From the roiling of the water you would think nobody ever fed these guys…from the size of them, you’d know it wasn’t true!
Can you imagine a more idyllic setting for a lakeside picnic?
The grounds are beautiful and there are many riverside trails where you can find a nice place to fish – fly fishing only.


You may be asking yourself, “Self, where does all this wonderful water come from?”  You’re in luck because I know the answer!!  The Metolius River comes from a deep spring and seemingly bursts from solid rock as a full sized river.  No little trickle here. To get to the viewpoint, Turn North towards Camp Sherman off Hwy. 20 about 10 miles west of Sisters, OR. 
Follow the signs along a paved two lane road to the RV friendly parking lot.  A short walk down a paved and pine tree shaded path brings you to the Head of the Metolius.  There are also restrooms and picnic tables adjacent to the parking area.

The path is mostly level until a short downhill portion at the end.  Still I would say it is a stroll and not a hike.  This is where the Metolius River begins…just appears out of the rock.

Within just a few yards it looks like this.  If you look closely (click to enlarge) you can see the tip of Mt. Jefferson just before it was swallowed up by those puffy white clouds.

The Metolius is a relatively short river, flowing from this point of origin and into Lake Billy Chinook, a distance of just over 28 miles.  This is a fly fishing only river and is a favorite for folks who enjoy that adventure.  The water is COLD and in some spots swift so care must be taken.  The clarity of this water is nothing short of amazing and the scenic area through which it flows is cherished by those who visit.  Listen closely now, can you hear it calling to you?

Tomorrow I‘ll show you some of the campgrounds along the river and more of the Camp Sherman area.

After our Metolius River excursion, we called Loree, from Luci and Loree.  Loree lives in Redmond, about 20 minutes from Sisters.  She drove over for a visit and we had a great time talking about the area and just about “stuff”.  Loree is a very gracious person and we enjoyed our visit very much.  Thanks for taking the time to come and see us, Loree.  We got to meet Luci too and what a happy little pooch she is.  Carl did not come along but I am sure we would have enjoyed meeting him too.


  1. I sure do here it calling me, Donna. What a tease you are! Glad you got to see Lori. Love your descriptions. I love unusual, factual stories--like where the Metolius began. I followed the Trask River, once. Did you know the shortest river in the world is in Oregon? Called "D" River. Also, Depoe Bay is supposedly the smallest working harbor. Oh, how Oregon calls my name.

  2. Dang!!! For a minute there I thought you were coming clear to Kansas!!!

    What an interesting story about that beautiful river! I'd like to see that sometime. We've been to the beginning of several long-lived rivers in our travels and also the shorty at Lincoln City!

    Waiting for more...

  3. The Metolius River has been calling me ever since I left that area back in 8/2010. That has to be my very favorite spot.

    I also spent a day at the fish hatchery just like you and have some of the same pics.

    I am sure glad you made it there. I tell people all the time how wonderful it really is.

  4. Loved the pictures and the information you provided. Have you ever given any thought to showing up at a hatchery with a loaf of bread and a jar of tartar sauce just to catch the reactions.

  5. Metolius looks awesome. WOW...those trout are a nice size. I think the one is posing for you.
    I see the tip even without enlarging. Love it....beautiful photo.
    I have to tell you, Donna. You crack me up with the way you write. It is so entertaining. Thanks for doing such a great job!

  6. The only hatchery we've ever been to is a salmon hatchery in Ketchikan, Alaska ... it was raining so hard that I have no idea what the surrounding area looked like. I'll be looking at the hatcheries through new eyes thanks to your post.

  7. Awesome pics -- nice header too. I keep saying this, but I want to see it for real -- great post!

  8. I think it's time for me to revisit Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery! Do you know if there there are fish there all year long, or just in the spring and summer?

  9. your pictures get better and better with each post!..sounds like you had a great day!!!

  10. Great, entertaining post, Donna. The photos of the river sure are nice, what a beautiful spot.

    Between you and Sue with her covered bridges, you guys are really doing a great job of promoting Oregon.

  11. What fun, Donna. Mo and I visited the Head of the River a few years ago when we camped at Cove Palisades and loved it but we never checked out the hatchery. Guess we will have to do that next time. It's beautiful up there. Also, I LOVE the photo of Loree. She looks great. I read her blog and she has great photos of everything but herself> Hi Loree!! what a delightful smile. Just like you and just like Russ, some of the greatest smiles around.

  12. Great pictures and very interesting post. This is one area we will have to add to our list when we get out to the west coast. Not sure yet when that will be!!

  13. That would be a great location even woithout the fish:)