Tenmile Lake (Oregon)

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Tenmile Lake
Tenmile Lake (Oregon).jpg
Grasses and water lilies at Tenmile Lake
LocationLakeside, Coos County, Oregon
Coordinates43°33′21″N 124°08′30″W / 43.55583°N 124.14167°W / 43.55583; -124.14167Coordinates: 43°33′21″N 124°08′30″W / 43.55583°N 124.14167°W / 43.55583; -124.14167
TypeNatural, eutrophic
Primary inflowsNorth Tenmile Lake; Shutter, Adams, Johnson, Benson creeks
Primary outflowsTenmile Creek
Catchment area70 square miles (180 km2)
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface area1,627 acres (658 ha)
Average depth10 feet (3.0 m)
Max. depth22 feet (6.7 m)
Water volume16,200 acre feet (20,000,000 m3)
Residence time1 month
Shore length123 miles (37 km)
Surface elevation13 feet (4.0 m)
SettlementsReedsport, Lakeside
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Tenmile Lake is the largest and southernmost of a chain of lakes along the Oregon Coast south of the Umpqua River in the United States. The chain includes North Tenmile, Eel, Clear, and smaller lakes, which drain into the Pacific Ocean via Tenmile Creek. The lake is 8 miles (13 km) south of Reedsport and 0.5 miles (0.80 km) east of U.S. Route 101 near the community of Lakeside.[1]

Tenmile Lake is named after the creek, which is about 10 miles (16 km) south of Winchester Bay. This community, at the mouth of the Umpqua River, was the earliest pioneer village along this part of the coast. Although the lake's official name is Tenmile Lake, it was formerly called Johnson Lake and South Tenmile Lake.[4]

Geology and history[edit]

The lakes in the Tenmile Creek watershed formed after rising sea levels, driven by post-glacial warming, inundated the lower reaches of the creek and its tributaries. Sand dunes that later formed along the coast altered the region's drainage patterns and led to a string of lakes at varied elevations within the Tenmile basin.[1]

In the early 20th century, Tenmile Lake was a cold-water fishery that supported large populations of coastal cutthroat trout, salmon, and the sea-run steelhead.[1] However, the watershed was gradually altered by logging, farming, stream channeling, and the introduction of invasive fish species such as yellow perch and brown bullhead.[1] Attempts to restore the cold-water fishery, including poisoning Eel, Tenmile and North Tenmile lakes with rotenone in 1968, all failed. Bluegill and largemouth bass are among species that have since dominated the fishery.[1]


Tenmile Lake and North Tenmile Lake combined have been called "a premier largemouth bass fishery."[5] In addition to largemouth bass, the shallow dendritic lakes with their complicated shorelines support populations of brown bullhead, bluegill, black crappie, coastal cutthroat trout, and stocked rainbow trout. Bass-catching tournaments are common at these lakes, and experts are able to catch 20 to 50 largemouth a day that weigh 2 to 5 pounds (0.9 to 2.3 kg).[5]

The two lakes, connected by the North Lake Canal, are used for boating, waterskiing, and swimming, as well as fishing. In Lakeside, near the outlet of Tenmile Lake, Coos County manages Tenmile Lakes Park. It has boat ramps, docks, a fish-cleaning stand, picnic tables, horseshoe courts, restrooms, and other amenities. A campground in the park accommodates recreational vehicles (RVs) and tents.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Johnson, Daniel M.; Petersen, Richard R.; Lycan, D. Richard; Sweet, James W.; Neuhaus, Mark E., and Schaedel, Andrew L. (1985). Atlas of Oregon Lakes. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press. pp. 130&ndash, 31. ISBN 0-87071-343-4.
  2. ^ "Atlas of Oregon Lakes: Tenmile Lake (Coos County)". Portland State University. 1985–2012. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  3. ^ "Tenmile Lake". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  4. ^ McArthur, Lewis A.; McArthur, Lewis L. (2003) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (7th ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. p. 943. ISBN 978-0875952772.
  5. ^ a b Sheehan, Madelynne Diness (2005). Fishing in Oregon: The Complete Oregon Fishing Guide (10th ed.). Scappoose, Oregon: Flying Pencil Publications. pp. 96&ndash, 98. ISBN 0-916473-15-5.
  6. ^ "Tenmile Lakes Park". Coos County. 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2012.