Brownlee Reservoir Idaho Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Brownlee Reservoir

One of the best fishing destinations in all of Idaho, Brownlee Reservoir on the Snake River boasts an impressive history of record-breaking bass and catfish.

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  • The biggest reservoir on the Snake River, Brownlee Reservoir offers excellent warm water fishing.
  • Northern access to the reservoir is just 59 miles southwest of McCall.
  • The reservoir is accessible year round.
  • Record breaking catfish and bass have been caught here.


There are several reservoirs on the Snake River, but none as large as the Brownlee Reservoir. Stretching 57 miles along the border of eastern Oregon and western Idaho, this vast reservoir is one of the most popular places to fish in the entire state. If you’re longing to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the invigorating fresh air and relaxing serenity of Brownlee Reservoir await.

Location & Information

Brownlee Reservoir, Idaho is located on the Snake River on the Oregon-Idaho border in Hells Canyon. From McCall, the best place to access it is at Woodhead Park in Cambridge - a 59 mile drive. In Oregon, the southern end of the reservoir can be accessed at Farewell Bend State Park off I-84 near Huntington. You can access the reservoir year round.

Contact information: Woodhead Park in Cambridge, ID – 800-422-3143; or the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department - 800-551-6949


Fishing – Extremely popular for fishing, Brownlee Reservoir offers a variety of fish for enthusiastic anglers including crappie, smallmouth and largemouth bass, catfish, rainbow trout, bluegill and perch. Be sure to plan ahead, as water levels can get quite low. Boat ramps are limited and much of the shoreline is steep and rocky.

Camping – Woodhead Park at Cambridge is a 65-acre campground with over 124 RV sites and 15 tent sites. Camping is also available at Farewell State Park in Oregon, which is also a popular spot for water skiing and picnicking during the hot summer months. There are also plenty of other camping facilities in the Hells Canyon Recreation Area.

Fun Facts

  • Brownlee Reservoir is considered one of the best warm water fisheries in the Pacific Northwest.
  • The Brownlee Dam was built in 1959 – the first of three in the Hells Canyon Project.
  • Long and narrow, Brownlee reservoir covers 15,000 acres.
  • A 45-pound flathead catfish was caught here in 1994 – the record for Idaho.