*Updated cancellation policy due to Covid-19*
We are extending our cancellation date to the date Oregon is cleared to open for business by our Governor. Second half payments will also be extended to be due the week after Oregon is open for business. We can currently move vacation dates to later in the summer subject to availability or rain check to next year if necessary. In the unforeseen event that we are not allowed to open this summer we will offer rain checks or refunds.
*Recreational watercraft other than houseboats:
We can move vacation dates to later this summer or offer rain checks. In the unforeseen event that we aren't cleared to open this summer we will offer rain checks or refunds.
Thankfully for those who live and play East of the Cascades in Oregon we have experienced limited Corona Virus activity. Jefferson County where our facilities are located has reported 1 confirmed case as of the day this is written. Having said that, we as a company want to do everything in our power and take every precaution to keep our customers and staff safe and healthy.
We will be implementing the following procedures for the season.
Boathouse and boat rentals:
Social distancing practiced
Sick employees must stay home
We will be serving customers through open windows with sneeze guards
Hand sanitizer stations installed
Staff will wear masks while around customers until deemed unnecessary
Staff will wear gloves as deemed necessary for safety
Clean and dirty pen bucket with pens sanitized after every use
Adding an instant hot water sink for hand washing
Limiting number of people in boathouse
Simplifying paperwork where possible to limit contact
Boats will be sanitized even more thoroughly after each trip
Life vests sanitized
No customers pumping own gas
Turnarounds on midday rentals will be 1 hour gap instead of ½ hour to allow time for sanitizing
No early boarding on houseboats to allow staff time to thoroughly sanitize houseboats
Store and Café:
Social distancing practiced
Hand sanitizer stations installed
Food orders will be taken through a walk up window
More outside seating added with social distancing between groups in mind
Sick employees must stay home
One entrance and one exit in store to help social distancing
Limited number of people allowed in store with 1 person per family
Employees will wear face masks and gloves until deemed unnecessary
Sneeze guards have been installed by register
Pens cleaned after every use
Hand sanitizer station installed
Regular cleaning and sanitizing like we have always done
When does my vacation start?
Morning boarding times are 12 noon. Evening boarding times are 6 pm. Sunday is a non-boarding day. Off season times may vary. The times above are our goal; however we are at the mercy of a number of factors, including what time our previous guests return to the dock. Please help us by adhearing to your return time. We will do our best to assure that the times stated above are met. We thank you for your patience.
When do I have to pay for my houseboat vacation?
The deposit is half the cost of the rental and is due at time of booking.. The full rent is due 45 days before boarding.
What are my payment options?
A. Pay by check or money order. B. We accept all major credit and debit cards.
What is our check out time?
Check out time will be discussed with your reservation specialist and will also be stated on your rental agreement.
What will it cost to rent a houseboat for our vacation?
Your houseboat vacation with Lake Billy Chinook is based on the size of the boat, the season, features and the number of people it can accommodate.
What should I bring from home?
Beach and Bath Towels
Bedding and Pillows
First Aid Kit and Medications
All food items including condiments (salt, pepper, etc.)
All personal soaps and shampoo.
What other costs are involved with houseboating vacations?
Your costs are minimal. You pay for the gas and propane you use during your vacation. Your gas costs will vary depending on how much you operate your boat and how much time you spend cruising. Most of our customers spend between $150 and $300 on gas. This is an estimate only, but is a good figure for budgeting purposes.
Where do we stay at night?
The houseboat cannot be safely secured in the middle of the lake. We do not provide anchors. You will be instructed on how to tie-up your houseboat to the shore during your captain orientation. The lake offers 72 miles of shore line for your needs.
Can we bring pets along with us?
Please discuss with our reservation specialist about the pet policy.
Are there any extra precautions we need to take with children on board?
Children will have a wonderful time on board a houseboat, but certainly require attentive supervision. They must have life jackets on when outside the cabin area.
Can friends join us during our trip?
Yes they can. The dock is the best place to meet. You must make sure they have a gate code and directions. Please make arrangements to meet them at the dock at a set time.
Can people contact us on the houseboat?
No contact is available. Your cell phone may work in certain areas.
Can I water ski behind my houseboat?
No, your houseboat is made for cruising around the lake. We do however have additional boats just for that purpose, that you can add to your vacation plan.
Do the houseboat doors lock?
No, they do not lock, but we have not had any issues due to the proximity of the lake.
How many people can I put on my houseboat over your recommended number?
You are not allowed any more people on the boat than the allotted Coast Guard and insurance approved capacity.
How far ahead must I book?
Earlier is better. If you're planning a trip during a holiday weekend like Memorial Day, it's best to get a reservation six months or more in advance. Mid-week trips or off-season dates are often available as little as a few weeks beforehand. July and August are busy. You should book early.
How fast do houseboats travel?
Up to 6 knots or 7 miles per hour.
How much gas and oil will the houseboat consume?
The engine consumption of gas may range from 6-8 gallons per hour, depending on size of houseboat, traveling speed, weight and weather conditions. The 2 cycle houseboat engine consumes 3 to 4 gallons of oil for each 200 gallons of gasoline used. The generator consumption of gas can range more or less 2 gallons per hour depending on the size of houseboat, plug ins, air conditioning and heater usage.
How difficult is driving a houseboat?
Driving a houseboat is different than driving a car, but is not that difficult. When you pick up your houseboat, the marina staff will give you an orientation and walk you through driving and maneuvering the houseboat. Most people get the hang of it within a few minutes.
How do I check availability or reserve a houseboat?
Give us a call at 866-546-2939, and our reservation specialist will be happy to check availability for you. It's helpful if you already have an idea of when you want to go and what boat you're most interested in when you call, although we're happy to help you pick the right boat for your needs.
You can also contact us online with your availability request, and our reservation specialist will get in touch with you with the information you need.
Feel free to give us a call at 541-504-5951 and we will be happy to help answer your questions!
How long will it take us to drive to Lake Billy Chinook?
From Portland 3 hours, from Eugene 3 hours, and from Salem 2.5 hours. Plan extra time for night driving. We are off the beaten path, but it is truly a paradise. From Culver (97734) it is a 30 minute drive to our marina on the Metolius River. Do not stop at The Cove Palisades State Park, keep on going.
Will I have any privacy on the lake?
Absolutely, there are plenty of areas on the lake that you can hang out and be away from others.
Do cellular phones work on the lake?
Some work quite well, others not very well or only at specific locations. You should give our office phone number to family in case of an emergency. This is the best way to insure a message will get to you.
What is the average temperature during July and August?
It averages between 70 to 90 degrees. It can get up to 100+ from time to time.
What do we do in the case of a medical emergency on the lake?
The Three Rivers Community has a volunteer EMT service available. Your cell phone will in most cases work in key areas of the lake. If you have special needs, please advise us in advance.
Where is Lake Billy Chinook?
Lake Billy Chinook is located in Central Oregon just west of Culver. The lake sits just west of Highway 97. It is approximately 145 miles SE of Portland, Oregon, 308 miles SE of Seattle, Washington and about 490 miles NW of Sacramento, California.
What type of fish are in the lake?
Lake Billy Chinook has a large variety of fish. Kokanee, the most popular pink meat fish, is delicious fried or smoked: Bull Trout, Small Mouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, and German Browns are regular catches, and occasionally someone catches an Atlantic Salmon or Catfish. There are also great crawdad or crayfish caught in the Crooked and Deschutes Rivers (not allowed on Metolius arm).
When is a good time for fishing?
Fishing season is year round. No place in the Northwest offers better fishing for record Bull Trout or Kokanee. The Metolius arm of the river opens March 1. March and April is when anglers go after large bull trout. The largest bull trout taken at the reservoir was more than 23 pounds, which is a state record.
When is the best time to come for good weather?
The middle of June through the end of September. Of course this does not mean we get endless sun, but our climate maintains a comfortable temperature, even in less than perfect weather conditions.
What is the lake like?
Located just three hours away from Portland, we have plenty of water (approximately 72 miles of shore line), a lot of sun and a variety of fish. Round Butte Dam is a hydroelectric producer, and one of the largest earthen structures of its type in the U.S. This rock-filled dam holds back the Deschutes, Metolius, and Crooked rivers to form beautiful Lake Billy Chinook. The water level is nearly 400 feet above the canyon floor and allows a unique vantage point to see 10 million years of geologic history embedded in the canyon walls. Central Oregon is famous for its many sunny days, and has been advertised as having 300+ days of sun a year. The area is a photographer's paradise. The Crooked River arm provides beautiful rock formations such as Devil's Post File and The Ship. On the Metolius arm one can see some fantastic views of Mount Jefferson.
What is there to do on the Lake?
Not only does Lake Billy Chinook have endless, beautiful shoreline to boat along, but the fishing is notably excellent. Cove Palisades State Park surrounds a large portion of the lake. This state park has plenty of hiking trails, as well as picnic areas. The Crooked River Petroglyph is a historic site within the park worth a visit. A Natural research area called The Island is a raised peninsula that you'll have to watch from the water, as it's protected, but it certainly is beautiful.
Is the lake rough or will I get seasick?
The lake is calm most of the time. It is not likely that you will get seasick as your houseboat is quite wide and stable. Bring motion sickness medicine if you are worried about it.