- Klamath County)
(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985) Miller Lake, named for an early Klamath County ranching family, is a large, natural lake in an attractive mountain setting just east of the Cascade crest. It is situated in a small, densely forested drainage basin of very steep slopes. Most of the drainage basin is in the Winema National Forest, with a small part at the north end in the Deschutes National Forest. Several surface streams enter the lake and the outflow is into Miller Creek at the southeast end. Miller Creek itself terminates in Beaver Marsh about ten miles downstream. Except near the outlet, the lake is quite deep with steeply sloping sides, a further expression of the surrounding topography.
Miller Lake is only 20 miles northeast of Crater Lake and certainly received a heavy load of pumice and ash when Mt. Mazama exploded approximately 6,600 years ago. The drainage basin contains significant amounts of volcanic ash and other poorly consolidated volcanic material which may yet influence the chemistry of the water in spite of the heavy forest cover. Several water bodies in this area are covered by sparse stands of the water alwort Subularia aquatica, a small plant that thrives on barren volcanic ash bottoms in clear lakes at high elevations.
Productivity in this pristine lake is low enough to limit natural fish production. However, it is stocked regularly with rainbow trout, brook trout, and kokanee and is very popular with fishermen. In 1964 it was poisoned to kill parasitic lampreys and then restocked. With its associated water sports, good camping and picnic facilities, large area of adjacent undeveloped country and hiking trails, plus easy access to the Pacific Crest Trail, Miller Lake offers many opportunities for recreation and relaxation in a beautiful forest environment.
Overall, the water quality in Miller Lake is exceptionally good and it is classified as oligotrophic. The water contains low concentrations of ions. The phosphorus concentration is about average for Cascade mountain lakes, while the chlorophyl concentration and plankton populations are less than average. Water transparency is above average (29.2 feet; 8.9 meters), but still considerably less than in some nearby lakes such as Crater Lake and Lake Harriette.