Motors Allowed?
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Sauvie Island is the nation's largest fluvial island, and as the largest lake on the island, Sturgeon Lake has the distinction of being the largest lake on the largest river island in the country.  Apart from this distinction, Sturgeon Lake is a marvelous day-trip for any fisherman or paddler looking for wildlife.  Don't come looking for sturgeon, however; the lake's fish population is predominantly catfish, small and largemouth bass and panfish.  Like the neighboring wetlands at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and Smith and Bybee Lakes, Sauvie Island is home to enormous populations of bird species.  More than 200 different bird species have been recorded on the island.  Watch for ubiquitous waterfowl, bald and golden eagles, osprey and great blue herons from the east shore of the lake.  You may even see a beaver or two.  Though motors are allowed on the lake, they are a rare occurrence.  You can also find solitude by exploring the waterways that connect to Steelman and Mud Lakes.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Parking Fee (obtain at all Sauvie Island stores)


Hundreds of inlets and coves to explore. Wildlife viewing.


Few locations to take-out for a picnic or a rest.

Water Temperature

32.00 °F (0.00 °C)


Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Shuttle required


Site characteristics: Water


Portage required




Access road was locked today. Not sure if things have changed and it is always locked??
Great SUP Paddle board place. Go early on holidays and weekends to avoid the afternoon crowd. No beaches just great paddling.
The depth of this lake is extremely low right now. In fact, I almost had to get out and walk in the dead center of the lake, and it didn't get much better all the way back to the spot I put in. So my recommendation going forward is to park on the north end the lake and paddle directly to the little river that runs north and south in the middle of the lake and avoid the lake altogether. The river is meandering and deep ... great for swimming and just drifting with the current.
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