Big Twin

Big Twin was great in the late 90's. I was catching 30-40 fish in a day (late in the season), some of them were up to 26". They had Lahontans (SP?) that felt like you'd hooked a log at first, then i'd move. The farmers in the area knocked out the fishing there in the early 00's by draining down the water level significantly for irrigation in the summer. It killed off most of the big fish. They'd restock, but with all of the shallow areas dry (north side of the lake), there weren't nearly as many bugs in the water for the fish to eat. I was there maybe 2 1/2 years ago and we were catching 14" to 16" fish, but it wasn't anything like it used to be.

I remember being able to walk in the shallows before they drew down the water and site fish for trout. There was a back bay on the north end of Big Twin and another one about 5' deep on the north end of Little Twin.

It's a shame that the fishing went down so much there. I'm hoping that it comes back, but I'm not crossing my fingers for them to put the water level back to where it should be...

Rick Todd

Active Member
The water level in Big Twin is an interesting study. I'm currently building (almost done) a cabin on Big Twin. Hope to have a dock in sometime this summer. Last year and the one before were really pretty good for me, with lots of 20+ fish days and fish to 20". These fish are nice healthy bows and fight well. Little Twin unfortunately got winter killed this year, and my neighbor told me of fish to 26" dead on shore. The Methow Valley Flyfishers put an aerator in Big Twin a couple years ago and that has really helped with winter survival. The loss of shallow breading grounds for insects has made the damsel fishing much less productive. I was talking to my other neighbor who had the blacksmith shop in Winthrop for years. He has lived on the lake for over 20 years. When on Big Twin, if you look at the shallow at the north end of the lake, there is an old barbed wire fence that goes under water. He said 25 years ago, that fenced dry land and cattle grazed there. After several years of increased snow in the mountains, the lake came up several feet. There are many theories about the lake level. They lined the irrigation ditches with concrete several years ago, and it is though the decreased percolation from the ditches had an effect. Moccasin Lake Ranch increased their irrigation a small amount, and some blame them. More wells in the area (like mine!) have also been blamed. The city of Twisp uses that aquifer for it''s water and received a several hundred thousand dollar grant to study it and recommend remedial action. My blacksmith neighbor is predicting that the lake will rise this year due to all the snow in the mountains, and when I was over a couple weeks ago the lake level had risen a foot in the previous week, so his view may have merit! Time will tell on this! Rick

Vladimir Steblina

Retired fishing instead of working
Big Twin is the new El Lake. Hopefully, it will not meet the same fate.

I remember fishing both Big Twin and Little Twin in 1979 and they were much, much bigger lakes.

Two of the biggest fish I hooked and lost were at El Lake and Big Twin. It was after that I started sharpening all my hooks!!
Ell lake did use to have the monster bows. But I can also rememeber aneas went it had the monster bow and browns . Big twin did thought produce well last year with many days of 40 + fish days, Lil twin also produced well in the spring the shallows are gone on the north but the south east shallows were awesome chasing big bows with emergers.


Methow Fly Fishing Guide
The fish in big twin were spawning this last weekend and were roaming the banks all around the lake. Spot fishing for them was fun and trying to get them to eat something was hard but landed five in the 13 to 16 inch range in about an hour in a half. I got a good look at a lot of fish and they were all in 13 to 18 inch size range.

Rick Todd

Active Member
Maybe not as exciting as targeting spawners in the shallows, but I got a report from last weekend of a lot of fish from 13-20" being caught on chironomids. Right in front of my cabin is a hot spot! Rick


the sultan of swing
I have fished big twin off and on for years,That said like all lakes it has had it's ups & downs over the years.It seems like the winter kill problem may have been solved with the areator pump. and this year because of snowfall the lake will be high some years the lake will be low because of lack of snowfall. No matter the lake height I've always done well by adjusting where in the lake I fish and by what type of flies I use. But after last weekend trip I would use a black #12 chronomide with a red wire rib in about 12 feet of water , just saying
Yes the lake changes week to week , day to day, hour to hour. I have found fish on a indicator from 35 feet to 1 foot in depth. Chronnies work well , I have a special little bunny leech that I use in the shallows ( 1 ft or less) that is as good as dynamite.

Rick Todd

Active Member
plugboots-the North Cascades Hwy opens sometime between Tuesday and Thursday this week (from the WSDOT web site) and I say HURRAY! I'm getting tired of the 5 1/2 hour drive! I expect a real crowd on the lake this coming weekend (including me!) Crowds don't bother me very much and certainly doesn't impact the fishing for me very much. BTW-if you are on the lake, stop by and say hi! (We have the new house with metal siding between the log house and Jackchinooks house.) Rick
Last weekend besides the rain fishing was great, not to many other souls brave enough to withstand the rain , but sunday the fishing really came on, fishing the flats with a blood worm from 7 feet under to 18" under the bobber.