Lost River (Oregon)

Lost River
Bonanza, Oregon.
Name origin: Its lack of surface flow through part of the Langell Valley in Oregon[1]
Country United States
State California, Oregon
County Modoc, Klamath, Siskiyou
Source Clear Lake
 - location Modoc County, California
 - elevation 4,479 ft (1,365 m) [2]
 - coordinates 55|34|N|121|04|33|W|type:river_region:US-X name=

}} [3]

Mouth Tule Lake
 - location Siskiyou County, California
 - elevation 4,035 ft (1,230 m) [3]
 - coordinates 56|24|N|121|30|19|W|type:river_region:US-X name=

}} [3]

Length 60 mi (97 km) [4]
Basin 3,010 sq mi (7,796 km2) [5]
Map showing the course of the Lost River and tributaries
Location of the mouth of Lost River in California

Lost River begins and ends in a closed basin in northern California and southwestern Oregon in the United States. The river, 60 miles (97 km) long,[4] flows in an arc from Clear Lake Reservoir in Modoc County, California, through Klamath County, Oregon to Tule Lake in Siskiyou County. About 46 miles (74 km) of Lost River are in Oregon, and 14 miles (23 km) are in California.[4]

From its source, the river flows into Langell Valley, where Miller Creek enters from the right. Near Bonanza, the river turns west and passes through Olene Gap, about 10 miles (16 km) east of Klamath Falls. The river then turns southeast and flows along the base of Stukel Mountain, where it provides diversion canals for small lakes including Nuss Lake for irrigation and flood control. It then re-enters California south of Merrill.[6]

Dams, canals, pumps, and other artificial structures on Lost River, Clear Lake, and Tule Lake are part of the Klamath Project of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the basin's water flow mainly for farming and flood-control. The project provides water to about 210,000 acres (85,000 ha) of cropland, 62 percent of which are in Oregon and 38 percent in California. Water from the Lost River basin enters the Klamath River basin, mainly through the Lost River Diversion Channel, about 4 miles (6.4 km) downstream of Olene. The 8-mile (13 km) channel can also supply water by reverse flow from the Klamath when irrigation water is needed for farms in drained parts of Tule Lake.[7]

After 1846, the Applegate Trail crossed the river on a natural bridge of stepping-stones, later covered by a Bureau of Reclamation dam, near Merrill. Earlier in that year, explorer John C. Frémont had named the stream McCrady River after a boyhood friend, but over time the Lost River name prevailed. A Lost River post office operated briefly, probably in the vicinity of Olene, Oregon, in 1875–76.[1]

A sluggish stream, Lost River offers fishing opportunities for bass, up to 7 pounds (3.2 kg), brown bullhead, crappie, yellow perch, and Sacramento perch. Trout are uncommon in this river.[8]

See also


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