Eckman lake in Waldport Great for beginners and kids!!
Not many vacationers take Highway 34, the wickedly contorted route from Philomath to Waldport. When traveling to that section of the coast, it usually saves time to detour through Newport or Florence. Those who choose one of the quicker routes might miss one of Waldport’s best-kept secrets, though: peaceful, accessible Eckman Lake.
This lovely little lake actually started out as a slough of Alsea Bay; its connection to bigger water was mostly blocked by the construction of the highway dike. Its water is fresh, fed by Eckman Creek at its south end. The lake is easy to find without braving Highway 34; it’s only a couple of miles inland from Highway 101. Turn east at Waldport’s only stop light. As you leave town, you’ll pass over Lint Slough, a very tidal finger of Alsea Bay that is popular with birds and paddlers. Follow 34 along the bay to a small park on the right; here you will find picnic tables, a vault toilet, and a fishing dock. The dock itself is accessed by a ramp and is barrier-free, but a short stretch of lumpy lawn must be crossed to reach it.
Estimates of the lake’s size vary from 45 to 59 acres. This puzzling fact may be partly due to variable water levels, and it may also depend on what one considers to be part of the lake. While the northern end along the highway is as deep as nine or ten feet, the rest of the lake is quite shallow, and the entire southern end is a non-navigable wetland.
In any case, this unassuming lake has much to offer vacationers who need a quiet spot to stop and relax. Fishing is popular here, from the dock, the roadside, and small boats. ODFW stocks it with rainbow trout, and the occasional cutthroat makes an appearance, as well. There are also rumors of coho salmon and good-sized bass being caught in these shallow waters.