Spring Lakes on the Fly

As we all know, the spring can be a frustrating time of the year to locate water that can be effectively fished. We all know the feeling when a fishing trip can be rudely interrupted by swollen rivers. To this I say – think of the still waters. I have found that the higher elevation lakes can produce quite well as long as you don’t need a snow machine to access them. The lower lakes will have a bit warmer water temps and should be producing some type of a hatch. Don’t get me wrong here, I know casting to fish in water that has no current can be a bit abnormal to the angler that is reading the tell-tale signs of “fishy water.”

Central Washington has an amazing blue ribbon river running through a small town called Ellensburg. The Yakima River can produce 30+ fish days, with a good portion of them over 16 inches. It was that time of year, and of course the Yak was blown. So we grabbed camp gear and pulled the drift boat up to an amazing little alpine lake just west of Roslyn, WA. There is a population of stocked rainbow in this lake but the real target species for us are browns.

It is almost precisely one year ago. After a beautiful scenic two hour drive from Ellensburg, I am pushing Allison, Bosco, my Newfoundland/Black Lab, and camp gear strategically surround the back angler’s seat of my Low-Pro Clack into thwe A few strokes off the bank, we cast sink tips and streamers into the crystal clear waters. On the way across to the magically secluded camp spot we do a bit of “Trolling” via arms, since no motors whatsoever are allowed on this gem. A couple bows to the boat is normal with this tactic of moving leach patterns higher in the water column. After setting up camp, we are off to hunt zee Germans. To do this successfully I always find a drop from a nice flat, which is easy to see in 20 feet of clarity! Drop the chain anchor (lead free of course) when the bow of the boat is just mid-way over the drop. “Cast as far as you can chuck it, 45 to the left, honey,” I say to my co angler, “and let it sink to the count of 10”. She gives it all she’s got and starts her long slow retrieves with a few short yanks here and there. I do the same, 45 to the right and bang! Fish on! These browns have made this mistake before and are very aggressive with the head shake, so she keeps that rod bent as much as possible. First brown to the net and it’s up in hand for a very quick picture.

Lakes pic


lake streamer


After a few fish more and a hog that makes your heart sink when you feel the line go limp, we decide to boogie up stream in the Upper Cooper River to the log jam that is a graveyard of a small forest. I drop the hook and get out for a bit of tiny dries on top. Watching these little wild beauties come out of the darkness is a joy to say the least. Before we descend back into the lake there is a 100 yard stretch of slow moving current through which I just had to chuck some meat. Bam! Didn’t even see it coming. To my utter delight, a wily brown is thrashing in the gin clear water. Did I mention the water is crystal clear…..



Until next time, my friends. Fish On!