Having lived in the Fishhawk Lake community part time and full time for over 16 years, and having been the local expert REALTOR® at Fishhawk Lake for 13 years, I’ve heard all kinds of questions over and over again. General questions that come up are the ones that I would like to address here, along with lots of links, photos and videos!
The following are ten common questions that come up often when people are searching for lakehomes at Fishhawk Lake.
Q:What types of properties are there at Fishhawk Lake and what is the difference between lakefront homes/lots and those that are off of the lake?
A:Most properties, whether vacant lots or with homes are about a 1/4 of an acre. The most expensive are lakefront homes, and are usually the most popular.
These can range in age, size, quality, upgrades and price. According to the HOA (Homeowners Association) rules, you must have a home built that is no smaller than 900 sq. ft, but there is no limit to size, otherwise, or how high.
After lakefront homes/properties, homes/properties that are on water, but not lakefront are the second most popular among buyers. On the canal, on a creek, including Fishhawk Creek (that feeds our lake and is our main watersource), these are considered “waterfront” properties.
Then, view homes that have a view of Fishhawk Lake or water of some sort are next in popularity. Usually the most reasonably priced homes are completely off the lake, which are often of interest to people who want a woodsy setting or seclusion and privacy.
Any owner of property in the Fishhawk Lake community gets to enjoy all of the amenities of Fishhawk Lake membership that are offered; boating, fishing, swimming, tennis, social events, and much more. The only difference is that if you want to own a pontoon, you will need to have a dock, lakeside or on water, to house it. If you don’t own a lakefront property, the way around this is to co-own a pontoon with someone who does.
There are two boat ramp areas to store your watercraft, during the boating season, and if you live off of the lake, these shoreline areas are available for you to put paddleboats, drift boats, kayaks and canoes along the shoreline. Be sure and put your Membership Fishhawk Lake emblem on the side of the watercraft and even your address and last name.
If you want to own a vacant lot, you never have to build! You can have a shed, 96 sq. ft is the largest. If you do plan to build, please consult the Fishhawk Lake Reserve and Community CC&Rs and know that you will need to show house plans, shed, etc. to the architectural committee. If you feel like camping forever, you can do that! Just know that leaving an RV is only allowed for 60 days per year. All lots have water/sewer available but most aren’t hooked up. $1,000 for each is the charge for hook up and the lake will do that for you.
Here’s an example of a hickory barn shed that you can have on your lot.
Q:What are the seasons like at Fishhawk Lake?
A:Many clients come from other states and ask about the weather patterns here because they are looking for milder temperatures, less heat or more seasons when exploring places to buy a 2nd home or retire. I recently had a client in AZ who is specifically looking to be able to enjoy the outside and not be stuck in air-conditioning 24/7! He also asked about global warming as that’s a concern of his, too. It has seemed to be warmer here than when we first purchased our lot and then home, but not a drastic difference. We also don’t experience the humidity of the south or the mosquitoes that other lakes deal with.
There are four seasons at Fishhawk Lake. I’ve seen everything from 90+ degree summers to four feet or more of snow and that was all in the years of ’08-’09! Some years we get no snow at all. Because we’re located in the coastal range, our temperatures can vary 6-12 degrees from the climate in Portland and around that city. We are at 600 feet elevation and tucked in amongst some trees, mountainous area, so we can have 50 degree mornings (perfect for a run or a hike) and then enjoy 90 degrees in the afternoon which warrants a good long swim in the lake.
The winter of ’08 was the most amount of snow on record in Northwest Oregon. I measured 4′ on our deck. I took our ATV out and got many photos around the lake to capture the beauty. We have snow removal as one of the many amenities we appreciate in our Homeowners’ Association. We have the equipment to clear our main roads, however you need to do your own driveway. ATVs are a great way to get around in inclement weather, but are also fun for going up Greasy Spoon Rd. and hitting 3500′ elevation where you can see Astoria and barges heading for the ocean. It’s a series of old logging roads that can be hiked, driven with four-wheel drive vehicles or the efficient ATVs, but wear your helmet!
Nature and wildlife abound in this coastal range community.
I get asked a lot about mosquitoes! If you’ve ever spent time at a lake, especially lakes in Michigan, you’ve experienced the unpleasantness of mosquitoes. We hardly see any at this lake and certainly not the size that can carry away a small child, like in Michigan! We do have “critters”: dragonflies, lizards, frogs, and of course waterfowl.
We’ve got Canada Geese, ducks, bald eagle, osprey (Fishhawk), herons and other wonderful feathered friends who visit and sometimes stay–maybe they got lost or just found paradise and didn’t want to leave! We also have salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout, otters, deer, elk, bear, cougar, raccoons, bats, you name it! Some can be a bit shy, or seasonal.
One of the pleasures of the weather patterns we delight in is the mist on the water in the early mornings here, even in the summer. I’ve relished those early trysts outside with a cup of coffee and taking in the view before it burns off.
Photo by: Gayle Rich-Boxman
Photo by:Gayle Rich-Boxman
Usually right after the 4th of July is when we kick into summer. You will see kids of all ages off from school, hanging out at the beach by the community lodge or walking around the lake, at a leisurely pace. Swimming, laughing, fishing, it all happens, along with the adults using watercrafts, as well as the kids. Paddleboards are more popular now and some people plant their dogs on the board and cavort, calmly around the rippleless lake!
Sailing is good for small sailboats and often a wind will kick up in the later afternoons, perfect for a one-person sailboat.
Septembers are quite often lovely as well. We can see Indian summers at times, too. What I suggest for attire: layer-and-peel types of clothing are best!!
Neighbors using their ATV
Q:Where is the closest grocery store, hospital, etc.?
A: There are two towns to go for grocery shopping, both about a 1/2 hour away. Clatskanie has a Safeway, pharmacy, and post office, restaurants, shops, etc. It is 18 miles from Fishhawk Lake on Hwy 47 toN Hwy 30 from Mist. Vernonia is 24 miles, but takes about the same amount of time from Hwy 202 to Hwy 47South. It has a Sentry, restaurants, two hardware stores, lots of shops, bike trails, Vernonia Lake. I suggest heading into Hillsboro for major “big box store” shopping, like Costco, Trader Joes and everything else you can think of, located off Hwy 26 about an hour and fifteen minutes from Fishhawk Lake.
The closest hospital is in Longview WA, 45 minutes away. St. John’s. There are many more choices in the Portland and surrounding areas as well. For trauma, usually Emanuel or OHSU are where people are transported. We have Life Flight available as we have a helipad located by our little fire station on Northshore Drive. As a Fishhawk Lake member, you can buy a yearly membership to Life Flight and Fire Med for a nominal fee, through the Mist Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District located on Hwy 101 about 5 miles from the lake community.
Q: What does the Homeowners’ Association Fee cover?
A: We have our own water treatment plant and sewage treatment plant, so all of your water and sewer are covered by the annual dues. We also have:
- several employees, both full and part time
- social events
- tennis court/ basketball area/playstructure/volleyball/horseshoes
- beach with sand and easy access to the lake for little children/several docks
- fishing and boating (electric and human-powered only)
- community lodge
- snow removal (around the community only),road maintenance
- neighbor patrol
- upkeep of general areas around the lake
- dredging and more
Q: Can I rent my property for short term, weekends or month-to-month?
A: Short term rentals are not allowed. A year-long lease is the only option for renting. Friends and family are welcome to enjoy your property as much as they would like. Since we are a private lake, we like to keep this area pristine, and it is part of our CC&Rs that weekend/short-term rentals are not acceptable.
Q:How many homes are vacation homes and how many are full time?
A: The percentage is roughly 75/25, but I have had more property be sold to new full timers in 2016 than I have seen in my eleven years of being a REALTOR® . The trend is changing. Read about my summary of the market trends happening at Fishhawk Lake .
Q:What activities are offered locally at or around Fishhawk Lake?
A:Some water play is mentioned above. You can fish for cutthroat trout during the statewide fishing season. You can catch and keep two per day. From May-November 1st. Salmon and steelhead are catch&release only.
Hiking is bountiful! You can walk around the lake which is an easy trek mostly, and about 3 miles. There are other hiking trails, running trails and areas to walk your dog(s) off-leash on Greasy Spoon Road, about a 1/2 mile from the entrance to Fishhawk Lake. Here is a video I took of Greasy Spoon Road one day while walking my Golden Retrievers.
There are daytrips to take, like the Jewell Elk Reserve,
Fishhawk Falls, and places along the coastline, as well as wineries that are about an hour away, like Apolloni Vineyards, (one of my personal favorites), located in Forest Grove, Gales Creek, and beyond.
Q:What services come out to Fishhawk Lake and how do I get ahold of them?
A: I’ve made it easy for my clients and new neighbors as well as sellers who have property listed with me and need repairs, remodeling, etc. by putting together my Members Resource List. These are all services that I have either used myself or they come highly recommended from those I trust in our community.
Q:What types of people or age groups own/live at Fishhawk Lake?
A: We run the gamut of age groups and people! Some folks are young with small children, others are single, retired and have a dog. They come from all walks of life and I like to describe our community members as “eclectic intelligent”. They come from all over the country, too. We have the east coast vacationers, Arizona people, Californians, and those from Portland who’ve either decided to find a getaway that’s close (within 2 hours) or have decided to move here and either work remotely or live here as their retirement/ primary home.
Q:How far is the beach from Fishhawk Lake?
A: There are a number of coastal towns about an hour from Fishhawk Lake, that offer great variety. Cannon Beach is an hour and 8 minutes away. It offers beach-walking, many shops, resort hotels or funky coastal getaways, and has always been very popular with our relatives who all visit from back east.
Astoria is another coastal town an hour away, that offers the chance to see sealions sprawling along piers and large ships passing while you eat lunch on the shoreline. Art galleries, that show local artists,
antique malls, and beautiful historical buildings. This town has seen many movies shot here, including the famous Goonies! The Wet Dog Cafe is dog-friendly and has its own microbrewery, and casual food with a great view of the ships.
If all of this piques your interest for pursuing buying property at Fishhawk Lake, Birkenfeld OR 97016, then by all means, give me a call or e-mail me! Let’s take a tour of the lake and look at properties! Be sure and click on the link above to go to my website and see more of what Fishhawk Lake has to offer from the Fishhawk Lake real estate local expert!
Gayle C. Rich-Boxman
REALTOR® John L Scott Market Center Direct: (503)755-2905
Specializing in Fishhawk Lake Reserve and Community