Castle Lake

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by TANGLES, Jul 9, 2002.

  1. Heading off to Castle Lake by Mt. St. Helens this weekend and wondered if anyone had fished it yet? Figured on using leeches and buggers. Also, while we're in the area, anybody have any favorite river spots? Floating line with nymphs sound good? Thanks.
  2. I'm going for an overnighter this weekend as well. Have not fished it yet, but heard it is doing well. The timing is right.

  3. Haven't fished it. Have done Coldwater Lake with so so luck with egg sucking leeches. Understand Castle is a bit difficult to get to. Don't want to carry camping gear. My son and I will just go in with float tubes early Friday morning and out in the late afternoon.
  4. It is definately a hike. You should do well fishing leeches, but the fish up there are responsive to dries as well.
  5. Derek and Tangles, please let me know how you do and suggested patterns--I've got my eye on Castle for mid-month and would sure appreciate your observations! Thanks! :THUMBSUP
  6. I hiked into Castle last year about this time.

    A couple of thoughts;

    1. It is a stiff 2-3 mile hike, down on the way in and up on the way out. Keep your gear to a minimum. (I am a former triathete/marathoner so you can believe I am not exaggerating).

    2. We did exceptionally well on drys. Turck's Tarantula was the big winner, but orange rubber leg stimulators in 6-8 worked well too. Beetles are also supposed to work well, but we had limited success.
    bh peacock Careys caught a few fish, and wooly buggers, but as long as the sun was off the water, the drys outfished the wets perhaps 5 to 1.

    3. The fish are not as big as the rumors you have heard. We released in excess of 100 trout and the largest was a measured 15 1/2 inches.

    4. Go see Gary at Toutle River fly shop on your way down for directions and latest info.

    5. Bring your camera - the views and wildlife are wonderful. We saw over 50 elk in 3 days.

    Have fun!
  7. Castle Lake: Located in the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Castle Lake requires a 20-plus mile drive over rough logging roads, followed by a tough hike down a steep hillside to the lake. The key to finding the lake is to first find the Weyerhaeuser 3000 road. Would-be anglers not familiar with the area should get a St. Helens West hunting map, published by the Washington Forest Protection Association. Those who put forth the effort have a chance to catch dandy-size rainbow trout; fish up to 10 pounds have been reported. This is a self-sustaining fishery, with no fish planted, so selective gear rules are in effect, along with a one-fish, 16-inch minimum size limit. The lake is open year-round, but the road in is usually blocked by snow until at least May.

    I have fished Castle lake and will concur with the previous posting that there hare lots of 12"-15". However, if you fish leeches or damsel nymphs deep and slow, even with full sun on the lake, you will have the chance to hook into some of the "monsters" of Castle Lake. The biggest ones I have caught are only in the 5 to 6 lb range. but understand that if the lake is full of 12" to 15" year after year, they do grow up. The bigger ones have just figured out that they don't need to come up for the little bugs when there is bigger stuff to eat deeper. The north and east sides of the lake seem to be the most productive fished from a float tube. cast to the shore and strip slowly as the fly drops in depth. the deepest part of the lake is about 100' so don't worry about gong too deep but you might have to let your line sink for a while. I've found a lot around 30-40' on the drop off from shore.
    unfortunatly the other posting is also correct about the hike in and more specifically about the hike out. you can take the elk trails(shortcut) down as gravity is working with you, and you can be at the lake in about 20-30 minutes from the trailhead. Just remember what you take DOWN you'll also take back UP! So be ready for a longer return.
    Chances are, if you make the trip, that there will probably be only a few other people, if that, on the lake.
    This is not a trip that anyone goes on to catch a few hours of fishing and you'll maybe make it once more this year if you do well so DO: BRING YOUR CAMERA AND TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES, LIGHT GEAR. BOTH DRY FLY AND WET, LOTS OF FLIES, THE FISH HIT LIKE FRIEGHT TRAINS AND IF YOU FISH WITH LIGHT TIPPETS LIKE ME, YOU'LL PROBABLY BUST OFF A FEW.
    Very seldom anymore will you find a pristine, crystal clear lake with sooo many truely native rainbows and sooo few people to spoil it. Keep only what you will eat and release all others. And have one hell of a great time. Wish I was going with you.
    Have fun!

    Don-on the fly
  8. Castle Lake - and be careful

    One more thought:

    Two people died last year hiking in to Castle lake in two seperate incidents. Apparently in each case they tried to take a shortcut and fell to their deaths.
  9. Castle Lake - and be careful and clean up others mess

    The only death at Castle Lake was in 1996 when a high school senior fell to his death during the night, after a party on the hillside above the lake. There has been several people hurt while hiking down to the lake, but no fisherman have died getting to or leaving the lake. I would suggest anyone going there to take the logging road route to and from the lake. It takes about 1 hour longer getting in, but it is a HECK of a lot easier getting out.
    Castle Lake has been getting a lot more fishing pressure over the past few years and with that comes garbage. During a trip last October I filled an entire 4 person abandoned-tent with garbage. It was very sad to see such a total disregard for nature. I would encourage everyone to pick up what every they can, which everyone who reads this probably already does. Castle Lake is truly a special place.
  10. Castle Lake - and be careful and clean up others mess

    I was talking with Gary last weekend down in toutle and he told me three people had died getting to the lake. One of them drove his truck off a ledge in the fog while Gary was down at the lake. Made my friend comment that the fishing had to be pretty good to be worth dying for.

    Good suggestion about the logging road, especially if your wearing a pack.

    We watched three guys take the shortcut off the main road down. They got about 15 min. down and there was a lot of fingers pointing different directions an head scratching going on. It was comical.

    You fished coldwater lately Paul?
  11. Castle Lake - and be careful and clean up others mess

    Gary would definitely know more about those incidents than me. I can relate to the fog and driving up there. It took me 3 hours once to get back to Toutle. I had to have my friend get out and walk in front of my truck, to tell me where the road was. Talk about nerve-racking!I haven't fished Coldwater in a couple weeks. Fishing gets tough (at least for me) up there during the hotter months. I probably won't fish it again until October. I'm headed up to the upper NF Lewis today and hopefully into Castle in a few weeks.
  12. Castle Lake - and be careful and clean up others mess

    I was just wondering if you chased after the coldwater fish with chironomids during the summer.

    We seem to be fishing the same water. The Lewis is on my to do list (it's a long list, but I HAVE been planning a trip there). Any insight provided would be appreciated.

    Are you planning a day trip or overnighter into castle?

  13. Castle Lake - and be careful and clean up others mess

    I've fished Castle for several years, and I'd have to agree that it is (was?) a fine place to wet a line. I'd like to echo a few comments already made. First, the lake has gotten a LOT more pressure since I first fished it (only about 5 years ago), and there is a LOT more garbage to be found by inconsiderate anglers who aren't willing to pack it back up. After fishing it last year I swore I wouldn't go back anytime soon because the garbage that was left made me sick. I couldn't pack all of it out. Secondly, I'm sure that the lake is being fished illegally (bait, etc.), and that's having a deleterious effect on this fine fishery. I recall catching fish that were MUCH bigger (with MUCH less effort) years ago. Maybe I'm just turning into an old fart remembering "the good ol' days", but I sure hope it doesn't deteriorate further. :DUNNO
  14. Castle Lake - and be careful and clean up others mess

    I've never fished chironomids up there. I think chironomid fishing is still a few skill levels above where my fly-fishing skills are currently at. Castle will be a day trip.
  15. Oly Guy,

    The fishing was not so hot. I caught a lot of 13", a few bigger, but they weren't what I hoped. The dry fly action in the evening was fun though. I spent a lot of time dragging a bugger on the bottom and only caught fairly small fish.

    I also spent the morning cleaning up the camp from the people before us and while doing so found a can of worms. I opened them up because I didn't wan't to pack dead worms out of the lake and found they were alive. Glad to see that poaching is alive and well up there. :REALLYMAD

Share This Page