Oregon Jargon

Cultus Lake (Oregon)

Cultus Lake is a lake in Deschutes County, Oregon. Formed by a glacier, it is located in the high Cascade Range in the Deschutes National Forest. The name is from the Chinook Jargon, and means variously bad or worthless, or simply "in vain". In the early 1800s, the lakes in this area abounded with beavers. The earliest explorers to this area were primarily on a quest for furs.


Cultus Lake lies at the base of the Cultus Mountain. The lake itself is natural and is 211 feet at its deepest point and about two miles long. Two fish inhabit the lake: rainbow trout and mackinaw usually caught with flatfish or anything shiny like a minnow. The lake also has a creek running into it filled with young fish and minnows, perfect for flyfishing. The lake also has a twin lake called Little Cultus Lake and the lakes are divided by a mountain called Cultus Mountain. This is a good lake to visit for fisherman and campers alike.

The area around Cultus Lake is known for its old growth large ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir and western white pine, sometimes rising to 120 feet. However, according to the U.S. Fish and Wild Game Service, the large pines are being weakened by competing understory fir trees and pine beetle attacks. If the trend is not reversed, there will be a shift in tree species (and tree size) from pines and Douglas-fir to white-firs.

The Service is recommending the selective thinning of white fir understory trees around selected ponderosa and western white pine to increase light, and the availability of nutrients, allowing the selected pines to grow more vigorously and increase their resistance to bark beetles.

Management policies

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages the lake for the natural and hatchery production of rainbow trout and brook trout. They also manage the natural production of Mountain Whitefish and lake trout.


Cultus is a recreational lake and is also popular for water skiing, sailing, jet skiing and boating.

The lake has a resort with 23 cabins, a lodge with a restaurant and store. There are also three other campsites for people to set up tents or park RV's.

See also


External links

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