Haystack Reservoir (Jefferson)

Reachcode: 17070306012045 | Area: 218.9 acres | Shoreline: 3.0 mi | View on Interactive Map

(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985)  Haystack Reservoir, located in the semi-arid rangeland of Central Oregon, was constructed in 1950 to store water for irrigation of agricultural lands in the Deschutes River Basin. It is a component of the Bureau of Reclamation's Deschutes Project which includes Wickiup Reservoir and Crane Prairie Reservoir. Flow from Haystack Creek is stored in the reservoir created by Haystack Dam. However, most of the stored water in the reservoir is supplied by feeder canals, and the impoundment provides for regulatory storage of the releases from Wickiup Reservoir.

The name Haystack was derived from nearby Haystack Butte; indeed, the territory around the base of this prominent landmark has long been known as "Haystack Country." An 80-foot high, earthfill dam impounds the intermittent flow in Haystack Draw, a tributary of the Crooked River Arm of Lake Billy Chinook; releases from the reservoir are diverted into a canal which leads to the North Unit Main Canal. Both the reservoir and its contributing drainage basin are within the boundaries of the Crooked River National Grassland, administered by the Ochoco National Forest. This is land that was mostly reclaimed from abandoned homesteads on which the natural ground cover had been depleted. Resources of the Grassland are managed on a multiple use-sustained yield basis with a goal of restoring and maintaining productivity.

Haystack Reservoir has developed into a popular recreation site. It has been heavily stocked with rainbow trout by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and provides a fairly successful angling experience; largemouth bass and crappies have also been stocked. Boats can be launched from several points on the shore and fishing from the bank is easy. A Forest Service campground is available for visitors as well as a private resort with boat rentals.

The reservoir is not drained seasonally as are many other small impoundments in the drier parts of the state. At full pool, the mean depth is 27 feet, and the maximum depth is 75 feet. The shoal area occurs unevenly around the shoreline; except for a shallow reef near the dam, most of the shallow water area is located around the northwest fringe of the reservoir and macrophytes grow there extensively. The concentrations of major ions are moderate in comparison with lakes throughout the state and somewhat lower than average for reservoirs in Central Oregon. The phosphorus concentration is high and water transparency is limited. Chlorophyl is also high and phytoplankton blooms are frequent. The phytoplankton includes species of blue-green algae which are sometimes conspicuous because they float near the surface. The reservoir is distinctly eutrophic.

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