Winopee Lake (Deschutes)

Reachcode: 17070301000874 | Area: 66.7 acres | Shoreline: 4.2 mi | View on Interactive Map


(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985). Winopee Lake is one of the many backcountry delights scattered throughout the southern half of the Three Sisters Wilderness. This region is not as spectacular as the northern half where magnificent volcanic peaks rise above timberline. However, its appeal is great, and the many small lakes are the focus of most recreational activity. Winopee Lake is most commonly reached via a five-mile trail from the west end of Cultus Lake. Winopee is a Chinook jargon word meaning by-and-by or wait. The name was probably applied to the lake by someone who was in no hurry to leave. 

A dense forest, composed primarily of lodgepole pine, surrounds the lake. However, Winopee Lake is perhaps more marsh than lake. Open water, unobstructed by emergent macrophytes, is only about 30 acres; there is a basin at the northern end which is about 40 feet deep. Two long, marshy arms reach to the south. Several small surface streams enter the lake, the largest being the outflow from the  Snowshoe Lakes. A sluggish outflow stream from the southeast arm reaches Muskrat Lake, a small waterbody which is rapidly converting to a marsh, and from there the flow is into Cultus Lake. Several rock outcrops decorate the eastern and northern shoreline of the lake. Winopee is a biologically rich lake as evidenced by the dense macrophyte growth over all the shallow area. Wildlife abounds in the area and fishing is very good for the numerous, but small, rainbow trout. The extensive growths of macrophytes and the naturally low biological productivity restrict the growth of fish in the lake. 

Water quality in Winopee Lake is excellent; concentrations of major ions, alkalinity, and conductivity are all very low. The pH of the water, 6.6, is a little less than average for lakes in the area. Chlorophyl and phosphorus concentrations are also very low and the water is very transparent. The lake is oligotrophic.