Bass fishing - blasphemy?

Given the recent weather, I am hesitant to fish for trout. I have a brand new pontoon boat, and have not fished in THREE WEEKS!!! It's killing me. Has anyone tried throwing big bugs for bass in any Seattle area lakes? I have read some reports about Alice Lake, Joy Lake, and various others within an hour or so of Seattle, but all are the result of using (gulp) spinning gear.

With the warm weather, it seems the trout are sleeping and the bass are more active. Has anyone else given this a try, or am I missing a key element?
Anyone care to venture out early this week to experiment with me?


Active Member
I'm gonna give it a try myself today for the first time. I'm going to throw big bugs on top and try a little dredging with leaches on the bottom.



Active Member
Quickly working bass bugs along a lilly pad field or wet line is a very pleasant way to spend a summer evening. Good for it.

Virtuall every lake within an hour or 2 of you that has a public access will have a bass population. I would recommend staying with the smaller waters to just to avoid the water skiers/jet skiers which can put a damper on the quiet evening.

If you are looking for just some action I would stick with the smaller pan fish type poppers and large dry flies. However if you to more consistently tempted the large bass in the lake I recommend that you step up your rod size a little (7s and 8s) and throw thumb size poppers and 4 to 6 inch wooley buggers (black and purple).

Another fun fishery is for crappies. They can be taken a small streams/woolley buugers on a sinking line during the day - typically suspended 4 to 10 feet down off the edges of docks and wet beds. However at dusk the fish will move to the surface and along the outer edges of the weed line where one can have some excellent dry fly action on size 10-14 EHCs, muddlers, etc.

Enjoy that new fishing craft!!

Dale Dennis

Formally Double-D
Good advice Smalma, personally knowing your experience with the warm water species I would take that information in high regard. For local lake fishing this time of year there are some great opportunities out there.


Left handed Gemini.
I've just started bass fishing myself and I really don't have any advice to offer up, but for me its a kick, you get great casting practice with the bonus of some great surface action on dries. I've mostly been using #10, #12 sized tarantulas which seem to work ok.
I spent Saturday morning out on Martha Lake in Lynnwood. I have been teaching my girlfriend to fly cast for a while now and figured she was ready to go after some fish. After many missed hits she finally started hooking them. I think she caught 4 or 5 average sized bass and had a blast doing it. As mentioned before its good practice. By the time the pinks hit the rivers and trout start to pick up in the fall she'll be ready for them.
DOesn't get much better than throwing poppers for bass. Do not be afraid to use big poppers...even an eight inch bass thinks nothing of smashing a 2/0 popper. Most essential item....WEED GAURDS!!!!!!! You should be fishing in the thickest, nastiest stuff you can find. Lilly pads, reeds, brush etc. throw way back into this mess often in less than a foot of water. Forget finesse, go with about 15lb tippet and a 6ft leader. When a fish hits, lower rod for a second and then heave, if you are too quick on the strike you will take it from them. If you are buying commercial poppers without weed gaurds, punch a couple of small holes inthe bottom of the popper then glue in small hunks of stiff mono that will extend past the hook point. Again, if you are not fishing in the "junk" you are missing out!!
I was in the same boat, and decided to give Lk. Sixteen up near conway a shot Sunday evening. Put my float tube in and had literally non-stop action on nymphs around the docks and lily pads. The fish are all small and should be released, but a heck of a lot of fun on my 6-1/2', 3-wt. Unlike the weeks after trout opened, I had the place to myself, only 1-2 other guys out there. Think I'll give it a try again this weekend.

I had a killer time fishing for smallmouth's on lake roosevelt last weekend...I was roped into this reservoir trip by my wife's folks and was feeling sorry for myself since I had to miss a weekend on the rivers. That was before we arrived...once we got there the lake was deserted morning and evening and you literally couldn't keep those bass off the line. I tied a san juan worm dropper off the back of a olive bugger and even doubled up with bass on both flies a couple of times!! Easily 30+ fish day's...

Here's to bass on the fly :beer2:
I heard a saying one time about bass, that went something like this. You could tie a school of trout to one bass and he would pull them around like skiers.(or something like that).

Growing up on the East coast, you learn to love Bass. In fact, my best friend runs his fly shop strickly on smalll mouth, and I guided for them several summers during college, so, to me, they are well worth the time and effort. Now, I am new to Washington, so I can't give any advice about the local waters, but here is my two cents about techinque:

1. Bass will eat anyting with rubber legs. We used to joke that if you tied a piece of dog doo with some rubber legs, then a bass would eat it (sorry about the imagery.)
2. Bass lover structure. Now, that doesn't mean docks and lilly pads, that means rocks, weeds anything. I've seen bass hold next to a single stick 40' away from anything else.
3. Clouser Minnow: Pink, Chartreuse (Spelling), and white.
4. Finally, if you want to catch big fish, fish big flies. This holds especially true for bass. They would open up and swallow a pontoon if they thought it tasted good.

Anyway, good luck and, if you find any ponds that you don't mind sharing, send me a pm.


FFing and VWs...Bugs & Bugs
I've been trying for bass a little more this year in some of the lakes local to Bremerton and I think my technique is getting better since I'm not getting skunked near as often :eek: . Between spinyrays and the saltchuck, it's the only way I manage to land anything. I need to drag my lazy tail out of bed earlier in order to escape the boats and PWCs. :(
Growing up in Ohio, bass were our trout. They're the premier game fish in many states. I've fished for and eaten bass (mostly largemouth) for three decades now. I never knew a place existed where bass were thought of as a sub-rate fish until I moved here. Yes, they're lot's of fun & you shouldn't feel like your slummin' it by bass-fishing, save slumming mentality for the carp (sorry Zen, couldn't resist).

Bass spawn in the spring and are more frequently found in the shallow, low-gradient areas during that time of year. They hold in slightly deeper water as the water warms, but always around structure. Naturally, weed beds, lily pads, cattails, etc provide shade and cool the water, so often these areas will hold bass into the mid-day, but not always. Bass are warmer-water fish than trout, but they have their limits too. When temps rise & oxygen levels drop, they move for the deeper water too -maybe not as deep as some lake trout though. I forget the ideal water temps for LM Bass, but I'm sure you could look that up easy enough. Bass generally come into shallower water in the mornings to feed and sometimes in the evening as well...sometimes after rains also.

Top water is fun. Experiment with speed and length of strips. I usually start with short twitches first & then work up to longer strips to see what gets the most reaction. Bass will normally strike either when your dryFly hits the water or on the first couple strips. I'd say for me, the most hits on a dry fly happen on the 1st & 2nd strip. The initial landing gets the next most hits. It seems the more strips you do w/o a strike, the less likely it is that you'll get a hit. Sometimes I don't waste my time by stripping the fly all the way in.

Underwater is fun too with some type of bushy, leechy fly with a big fat conehead to weigh it down. Don't fish it like a streamer, but rather let it sink straight to the bottom like a rock (weedless rigs are a very good thing here). Once it hits bottom, let it settle for 2 or 3 seconds. Make sure you're watching your line very closely as your fly settles, as this is probably when you'll get the most strikes. After your fly settles down, raise your rod tip up just a few inches and then let it drop. This allows your fly to do a diagonal jigging action, bouncing off the bottom on every drop. The idea is for the fly to come a few inches off the bottom (anywhere from 1-12 inches depending on how ballsy or shy the fish are that particular day) and then settle back down. Every time your fly settles back to the bottom after bouncing it, let it sit for 2-3 seconds. Bass almost ALWAYS hit it on the freefall or shortly thereafter. Rarely do they ever hit a fly on the upward move. Vary the number of twitches/jigs you do before letting the fly settle. Normally, between 1-3 twitches between settling works best. A stiffer rod tip helps with this action. What I've just described here is the basic method people use to fish rubber worms or lizards from the bottom for bass. This method by the way, catches more bass than any other. You could read any bass fishing article about rubber worms/leeches/lizards, etc, & this is what they're talking about. Just adapt the technique to fly fishing & don't let too much slack in the line.

The below statement is true...

wrench said:
When a fish hits, lower rod for a second and then heave, if you are too quick on the strike you will take it from them.
There are 2 parts to a bass strike. Step 1 -He inhales your lure/fly in his huge mouth. This will cause your line to go taut, at least by a few inches. Amateurs try to set the hook here and lose too many fish. Wait. Step 2 -Mr. bass closes his big mouth and turns back to where he came from. This is when you strike, in between steps 1 & 2. Do it hard...& then keep the pressure on. The thing about step 2 is, you don't know when he closes his mouth...& if you wait too long after the inhale, Mr. Bass figures out he doesn't like your ball of hair & spits it right back out. So, the trick is to watch your line closely as your lure is dropping. When you see your line going strangely taut, wait a second for the line to stop its movement/tensioning (it won't stop forever though, just a half second or so). When it pauses like that, that means the bass has fully enhaled your fly. This is when to set the hook. By the time you get your rod tip up, he will have closed his mouth and begun to turn.
-Note about line control-- You don't want too much slack line but you do want some. Just enough so Mr. Bass can inhale your fly without feeling any resistance. Usually I can keep the right amount of line by just dropping my rod tip down near the water's surface after I've pulled all the slack out. That's just tight enough to see what my line is doing, but slack enough that I've given the bass some "inhale" room.
You can get away with sloppy hook-sets and line control with small bass, but it won't work with the big boys too often. I've watched a lot of guys get strikes and they didn't even know it because they didn't know what to look for.

There are times when you can fish streamers for bass, but the above two methods are more commonly successful. You'll still want to fish around structure or weed/lilly/cattail beds. When streamer fishing for bass, the timing of the strike is typical of bass -in between the strips when your streamer pauses and begins to fall. I don't know what it is, but bass are a sucker for the pausing and dropping action. It's the same when fishing spinners and jigs with spinning gear.

Use wide hooks for the big mouths.

Well, I suppose I'll cease from my longwindedness. Hope that helps a little. Bass fishing is not just for billy-bobs & bubbas, but for Chris's and Davids, and even Elliot's too. :D

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
Oh you guys are fantastic! I spent two years in fifth grade majoring in Bass fishing. Wish I knew all of this stuff then. My favorite time for bass in summer is predawn to sunrise, and sunset to dark. Loved the hookset notes here. Very true. We should start our own team and go after the Bassmasters trophy!