Metolius River near Wizard Falls
|Mouth||Lake Billy Chinook
|Length||29 mi (47 km)|
|Source elevation||3,000 ft (910 m)|
|Mouth elevation||1,945 ft (593 m)|
|Avg. discharge||1,497 cu ft/s (42.4 m3/s) at mouth|
|Basin area||315 sq mi (820 km2)|
The Metolius River (pronounced muh TOLL ee us) is a tributary of the Deschutes River (through Lake Billy Chinook) in Central Oregon, United States, near the city of Sisters. The river flows north from springs near Black Butte, then turns sharply east, descending through a series of gorges before ending in the western end of the lake. The unincorporated community of Camp Sherman lies astride the southern end of the river.
The river's drainage basin is 315 square miles (820 km2) in area and, according to at least one estimate, contains 110 miles (180 km) of perennial streams, 324 miles (521 km) of intermittent streams, 42 lakes, and 121 ponds.
The headwaters of the river are at Metolius Springs, where the river emerges from two clusters of springs, about 300 feet (91 m) apart. The springs are at the base of Black Butte. Water flows to these springs from the drainage basin around Black Butte Ranch, several miles to the south. The elevation of the drainage basin is 300 feet (91 m) above that of the springs, forming a natural standpipe that tends to stabilize the river's rate of flow.
As a consequence, the water level in the Metolius River is relatively constant. The rate of flow at the headwaters is approximately 190 cubic metres per minute (6,700 cu ft/min) or 50,000 gallons per minute), although it grows by an additional 2,300 cubic metres per minute (81,000 cu ft/min) or 600,000 gallons per minute) by the time the river reaches Lake Billy Chinook. Similarly, the water temperature is also stable; at the river source, the water temperature is a consistent 48 °F (8.9 °C).
The Metolius River flows 28.6 miles (46.0 km) from Metolius Springs through the Deschutes National Forest, emptying into Lake Billy Chinook and ultimately the Deschutes River. The upper 11.5 miles (18.5 km) of the river is a popular destination for catch-and-release fishing, whitewater rafting, picnicking, and camping. The lower 17 miles (27 km)is on the boundary of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, and is "a primitive area where motorized vehicles are not allowed."
Many of the summer homes along the Metolius River are constructed on United States Forest Service land, under provisions of a 1915 act of Congress, and are generally required to be set back from the river at least 50 feet (15 m), allowing public access to the river.
Sport fishing on the Metolius River is catch-and-release, fly-fishing only (barbless hook), on the accessible, upper portion of the river, and includes rainbow trout, whitefish, bull trout and kokanee salmon. A number of small resorts and shops cater to fishermen and other visitors, principally in the community of Camp Sherman.
Hiking and horseback riding are popular activities in the area, particularly on the upper, southern portion of the river, with trails extending up and down the river and into the forests on both sides. There are also a number of developed campgrounds on the banks of the river. Fishing, rafting, hunting and cross-country skiing are all popular seasonal activities.
The Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery is also located approximately 10.6 miles (17.1 km) north of the headwaters. This hatchery raises rainbow trout, kokanee, and Atlantic salmon. The hatchery is open to visitors, with various species of trout and other fish on display in ponds.
Coordinates from GNIS list one point per 7.5 minute map. The source and mouth are not repeated here.
|seq num||location||usgs map|
|5||Prairie Farm Spring|
- List of Oregon rivers
- List of National Wild and Scenic Rivers
- The National Forest Foundation's Conservation Plan for the Metolius River
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Metolius River
- Deschutes Subbasin Plan, Northwest Power and Conservation Council
- "The Ore Bin, Volume 34, No. 3, March 1972, p. 51" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-04-21.
- "The Ore Bin, Volume 34, No. 3, March 1972, p. 43" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-04-21.
- "Metolius River, Oregon", Public Land Information Center, Public Lands Interpretive Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2008.
- “Metolius, Oregon”, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Public Law 90-542 (as amended), 16 United State Code 1271-1287, 8 August 2002.
- "Camp Sherman", Metolius Recreation Association, Online Highway.com, Camp Sherman, Oregon, 24 August 2008.
- Wizard Falls Hatchery, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
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