Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Kyle McCurdy, Apr 3, 2014.
I want to be very clear; Chopaka lake is not the like it used to be! It has become overcrowded with people who have been given a line of BS. The infamous callibaetis hatch is sparse at best and most days nonexistent. Due to climate change (IMHO) the lake has gone through some very lean years that have affected the ecology of the lake and the number of and type of bugs that now dominate.
I have encountered a huge influx of folks who are down right "rude". They entire my circle of fishing without the slightest "sorry" and seem to do this ignorantly or perhaps to illicit a negative response. It seems to be some sort of badge of manlihood to put fish on the reel and, as a result, tire them out, needlessly. These are not the fish of the past and can be easily stripped in and released in a hurry.
Don't get me wrong, there are some very responsible, friendly, folks that show and fish responsibly and courteously with the fish and other fishermen in mind at all times.
I try to make one or two visits, "early" in the year before most of the fish have been caught two or three times and the water gets very warm. Remember, this lake is only 3200 feet in elevation and on the hot side of the valley. It is getting increasingly harder to follow this routine because of more and more fishermen and warm water that comes earlier, each year.
I have never fished Chopaka, for the very reasons mentioned about crowds, but everyone says it is beautiful and can be very fishy, so enjoy. I would Second the vote on Aeneas - maybe not the most aesthetic, but certainly one of the best fishing lakes in the state. Washburn, spectacle, and wannacut are others worth checking out in the neighborhood. Good luck.
Chopaka is one lake in Washington that really felt like the lakes around Merrit and Kamloops to me. I did most of my fishing there in the late 70's and 80's. There was a really nice older local guy that would camp at Ell lake and then move up to Chopaka for at least a month. Does anyone remember his name?
Anyway one time my future (now present for 23 years) wife and I spent a week at the far end of the lake camped in that grove of great big Ponderosas. There was a downed log with a family of about a dozen goldeneye that were totally entertaining. The calibaetis were out every day with a spinner fall every evening....then there was lights out stripping leeches in the shallows at sunset. It's fun to hike up the far side of the lake until you come to the cliffs overlooking Palmer and a nice walk back to little Chopaka. Great memories.
sbr, you are the very reason Chris has gifted us with the IGNORE function. In jest I poked fun at your comments on Chopaka and you instantly retaliated with ill tempered and derogatory comments about my parents. And then you repeated the insults again couched in slightly different terms. So much for writing ability huh? You have said the same thing twice and it is still lame and demeaning. All over a comment made in jest.
It appears that perhaps you are the one who is the expert on incestuous parents, is there something you want to tell us?
After almost ten years on this board I can assure you that you are going to need thicker skin to thrive here. Toughen up.
He wants to know if you have been smoking your own beard or drinking your own bathwater. I think it was fairly straight forward, but if you need a translation, ok. He doesn't think you know what you are talking about, in fact he thinks your comments are so far off that you must be on some sort of drugs or possibly poisoned. How he knows you have a beard is beyond me. I'll assume based on your highly inappropriate comment about his parents, that you must know him (that would explain why he knows about your beard). This is a gentlemanly forum after all and we do not bicker with each other over tiny squabbles, unless of course we know and love each other.
But you are right Chopaka is always empty of all fisherman and the fishing is of course a dry fly mecca where you will never need to worry about others casting to your personally owned fish.
Now as for that water getting to warm comment that someone else made, that stuff really is crap.
sbr, pick your battles.
Oops, saw chris had posted in stillwater and figured something good must've happened. No longer the gentleman's category i guess...perhaps entomology or rodbuilding?
The comment about the decline of the Callibaetis mayflies at Chopaka is, unfortunately, true. It was initially blamed on the smallmouth bass infestation but failed to recover after the last rehabilitation. In my experience this has also been true of many lakes in both eastern and western Washington. The days when daily hatches lasting an hour or more which seemingly brought nearly every fish in the lake to the surface to dine seem to be a thing of the past but I keep hoping that someday they will improve to something better than the current short, sparse performances.
That said, Callibaetis are not the only game in town; Chopaka has always had, and still has, very prolific damselfly hatches and a little study of this insect's life history can provide some of the best fishing with nymphs and adults to be found anywhere. Last year in mid-June I had some of the best dry fly fishing with teneral imitations (which seemed to be preferred over the full-fledged adults) that I've ever encountered, anywhere.
So, while regretting the loss of the truly epic Callibaetis hatches of days gone by, I'll continue to fish Chopaka because of its beautiful sage-Ponderosa-and-juniper setting, its spring wildflowers, its ruddy ducks, goldeneyes and eared grebes, and even the occasional thunderstorm blowing through. The fish are still there, and as strong as ever, and the opportunities for fishing on top remain. All things considered, could anyone seriously prefer Aeneas Lake to Chopaka?
October is my birth month and my favorite time to visit Chopaka. Grouse season is in full swing, Huns are in the rocks above the road up there, and the fish are usually looking for something big and meaty. I took my 6wt the year after the rehab and was glad I did. I'm just not big on the warm weather crowds up there. Generators humming all night, loud drunks, and always some jackass that wants to share what he thinks is music. I'll take the off season days when I actually did have the lake to myself...
When was the last time you had Chopaka to yourself?
When I lived in Colville I always took my birthday (Sept 24) off and fished Chopaka. For those five years I always had Chopaka to myself.
After we moved to Wenatchee in 1985 I did not go back to Chopaka until Columbus Day around 1994?? It was packed....I mean packed. So I stopped going for another decade or more. Now I am going back for the memories, and taking friends and not the fishing.
Now when I find a special spot I treasure it and use it. When its gone....its gone.
I haven't fished there for 10 years or more. I remember some great times with old friends, a wonderful callibaetis hatch as you mention, and a lot of campers. If that's what folks remember as solitude, it must resemble a downtown Seattle bus stop at 5PM now. The road up used to keep most of the fainthearted out of there.
The other thing I recall: coming over the last hill to the campground on a drizzly Canadian memorial day weekend, my companion described the view: "I see the Gore-tex hatch is on". I've seen a goretex hatch many places since....
October 13th, 2011...light snow coming up the hill, turned to mist at the lake, cleared up by the time I was in the water...missed the grouse on the way up.
Couple days after Columbus Day....might have to try it.
Okay kids you have had your fun now go back stand in the corner do not forget the hat too
Sshhhhhhsshhhhh..... Chopaka in October has brutally cold weather, hords of anglers, and the fish go off the bite...... that is if the road is even passable due to the downed trees from the common lightning strikes....
Chief, that was the only day that fall that the road was passable, as it was I had it in 4WD all the way. Day after was another cataclysmic avalanche that are so common that time of year...I'm not suggesting anyone risk life and limb to try what I did...
I don't get it what does a . Mean?