Quality fishing at some general regulation lakes

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Starman77, May 6, 2014.

  1. General reg rainbow.jpg

    I've been having some fun exploring some of the small, hike-in, general regulation lakes in eastern WA this spring. Most fly fishermen naturally tend to gravitate towards our "quality" waters, like Lenice, Nunnally or Dry Falls, but I'd encourage you to keep an open mind about some of the general regulation lakes that may offer a better quality experience than some of our "quality" selective fisheries, especially if you like some solitude when fishing, as I do. As I see it, the problem is that our "quality" lakes are so over-pressured that the fish are caught repeatedly and thus don't fight as well as they used to. We are figuratively and literally loving our quality lakes to death. Even C&R fishing has an incidental mortality rate, which might not amount to much for one individual, but when multiplied by a large number of fly fishermen, it can be significant.

    What I've found is that a hike-in lake will deter 90% of the fishermen, thus I rarely run into other fishermen on these small hike-in lakes. It helps if there isn't too much shoreline access so the lake doesn't get fished out by the PowerBaiters. By this I mean tall reeds or basalt cliffs. The lake should be planted with fry only, as that produces about as wild a fish as we'll find in our desert lakes. You'll find mostly small fish (10 to 12 inchers), but there will be occasional holdovers (16 to 20 inches), like the one shown in the photo above (before anyone gives me flack for placing the fish on the grass, this fish was retained for scientific purposes and for consumption). The fish almost all fight really well, with about half being great jumpers, and most looking like they've never been caught previously. The PowerBaiters thin out the numbers of fish, so the remaining fish have plenty of food and grow fat and strong.

    I fully realize that by sharing these thoughts I might have a bit less solitude on some of these small lakes, but maybe by spreading out us fly fishermen to a greater number of lakes we'll bring back our "quality" selective fisheries to a semblance of their former glory.

  2. I agree, I have actually hiked into a few of these lakes
  3. Good description of my favorite way to fish. By far it's the best experience a guy can have out there. Oh, and unless you start naming lakes you won't see others joining you any time soon. With rare exception people really don't want to research/explore, or even hoof it in somewhere...can't say that bothers me.
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  4. I fish the "anything goes" regulation lakes. I fished two with Starman earlier this year. Tried to get him to fish some others with me and he thought they were too close to a road.
  5. Starman, that is one nice bow. I like exploring in general and it's a bonus if there's a lake at the end of the trail.
  6. One of the downfalls that I see with some of the "quality lakes" is the stocking density is too high to produce larger fish. When fish can be retained, it can open up more forage for the fish that aren't harvested. I'm all for having quality managed C&R lakes, but they don't always provide better fishing or a better experience. Many of my favorite lakes in the state are managed under general regulations.
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  7. All of my favorites but one are general reg lakes. I rarely waste my time with quality or fly fishing only lakes.
  8. Starman,
    Nice fish and you make some excellent points.
    I've caught all of my biggest eastern Wa fish in put and take lakes.
    If you can find a lake that has been rehabbed then planted with fry, the third year after the rehab can offer some great fishing.
    Fish that survive the first two years will be a nice quality hard fighting fish by the third year. Much better quality and fighting fish then triploids in my opinion.
    I think in many of the quality lakes on both sides of the state they plant way to many fish for the size of the lakes.
  9. Hey!! Watch that triploid comment;)
    Stonefish likes this.

  10. I've caught some triploids that used my flyline to slice thru the water. It's only been a few times that water was thrown up on both sides of the fly line as the fish made a mad run. One was with a triploid.
  11. One......

  12. I've had very few fish plow thru the water using the line like a farm implement..... salmon included.
  13. on the Triploid note. has anyone else noticed how lethargic they have been this year ?
  14. I caught one last Saturday that was about 17". What a pathetic POS. Reeled it right to the rod tip without any fight in it.
    Maybe it didn't fight because it couldn't swim well since half its fins were missing.
  15. I am a mnt lakes fisherman. I like the drive, the hike and the solitude. The fish are great fighters and if camping, they taste great.
    I agree about the trips being soft and lazy, they do pull hard( as they should at the 4+lb range), but they give up the fight way to early.
  16. I guess it depends on where you're fishing and where/how the trips were raised. Alot of trips in Rufus have white tipped fins, and if they weren't fin clipped could fool a guy. They fight hard, and often jump several times.
    McNasty was surprised when he landed a 17-18 inch triploid a few weeks ago. It ripped line and did backflips, while the 19-20 inch native redband he caught a few casts later, though gorgeous, didn't put up much resistance. (To be fair, the nate could've just came over the dam and still been stunned. I've caught Chinook down there like that.)
  17. TJ,
    I agree with you in respect to triploids being of different quality.
    Besides the lakes stocked with fish raised in the Colville area, I'm just not seeing the fight, quality or size triploids are reputed to offer. I'm talking lakes also, not the RF pond monkeys.
    Anyone know how much the state spends per year on triploids?

    If the state wants to continue to planting them, I'd like to see them plant them as fry.
    Perhaps look at how the BC triploid programs are run as well.

    Long before triploids because the in thing diploids bows produced some quality fish and fishing.
    Those that have fished this state long enough got to experience it and will understand what I'm talking about.
  18. I don't get excited over a trip unless it's past the thirty inch mark these days. Any redband over twenty inches is always a treat, though.
    Stonefish likes this.

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