Rock Lake, Whitman County - Big Rainbows & Browns

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Fritz, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. Fritz I like fishing

    Posts: 15
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have been fishing at Rock Lake for a few years now and have had only moderate success. My friend and I usually catch 1 to 3 fish each per day of fishing. I know that there are some very large Rainbows in Browns in this body of water. Our primary fishing techniques are trolling and stripping various nymph patterns on sinking flylines.

    We usually fish green and black damselfly & minnow patterns, prince nymphs, crawfish patterns, & wolley buggers, generally size 2 to 10. Our presentation is either via a slow troll on sinking lines (rio deep 6&7s), or sometimes I cast to shore, let the fly sink to the bottom, & strip in quickly. We are currently planning on developing and testing some much larger patterns based off of steelhead minnow patterns and bunny leaches.

    I am set on figuring this lake out. Despite not catching a ton of fish when I go there, I beleive that it can be done, large fish included. I intend to do this on a flyrod.

    Is there anyone who has had better success at this lake or similar lakes? I would highly appreciate any input regarding patterns, sizes, & presentation. Are there any specific parts of the lake anyone recommends fishing more than others?

    Thanks
  2. Keith Hixson Active Member

    Posts: 1,507
    College Place, Washington
    Ratings: +55 / 0
    Rock Lake is an extremely large lake (as you know) and extremely large lakes means its more difficult to locate the trout just because of size. Probably need to get a fish finder and search. Once you find where they are bunched up, then you'll have success. Not a traditional fly fishing technique. I have relatives that live in the St. John area and fish the lake. (Gear Fishers) But their methods seem to work for them.

    Keith
  3. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    From looking at the WDFW regs, it looks like Rock Lake is a year-around lake. Since it's open during the winter, I'd hit it then and keep an eyeball open on the shallows for the rainbows. Admittedly, winter is when browns spawn--so I wouldn't expect to find the browns in the lake. Look elsewhere?

    Finding trout in winter isn't that difficult--despite their being spread out. Just look for habitat that would normally host a food source during the rest of the year. Think of dragonlies, for instance. Where would you find these year-around nymphs? Where there should be food, you should find at least some trout. On the upside, when food is scarce, the largest fish will out-compete lesser siblings. All too often, on a cloudy, winter day, I've found them piggies rooting around in the shallows--as in water less than 3 ft deep!

    Layer up with fleece, wear your neoprene waders, and catch some fatties!

    --Dave E.
  4. dbaken New Member

    Posts: 22
    Portland, OR
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Not sure if this will help much, but about 12 years ago, I fished Rock Lake about 7-8 times while going to school in Pullman (and was a gear fisherman in those days). We caught quite a few browns - including one 25+. We trolled crawdad shaped plugs, and most of the fish had beat up noses, probably from poking in the rocks for crawdads. There was one sure-fire spot, on an underwater ridge in the center of the lake where the depth rose to about 15 feet. Which should be manageable for a sinking fly line. I'd be more specific about where the ridge is, but my memory is kind of foggy now days.

    Anyways, it's a great lake to fish, good luck!
  5. SeanM member

    Posts: 157
    Seattle, Wa
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    If you go to washingtonlakes.com you can find topographical maps - that might help finding that ridge.
  6. Jack Murphy Member

    Posts: 201
    East Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I fished there while I lived in college and a few times since I left.

    It is a terrible lake and I never caught any fish...stay away from it because people always drown in it and the bodies are never found. ;)
  7. Fish Fungus Member

    Posts: 34
    Parts Known
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    You should try a fly called The Big Show! This fly has produced many large fish in rivers and lakes all over the globe. It has a natural silhouette and swimming action that fish cannot resist.
  8. Keith Hixson Active Member

    Posts: 1,507
    College Place, Washington
    Ratings: +55 / 0

    Okay, I'll take the "bait" never heard of the "BIG SHOW". Show us a pic and sizes.

    Keith
  9. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    Took One For the Team! :beer2:
  10. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    Watch for swallows to show you where the chironomids are hatching. If you're lucky, there will be fish rising there. Bring emerger patterns.

    Otherwise, look for bug habitat. That means shoreline trees in the water, weedbeds, or tules. Where there is food, there will be fish. Right now, the weather has been so cold that trout can be found in the shallows still. That means water that's 15 feet and less. Yesterday, I caught a 12" brown that was in water that had to have been easily less than 2 feet. I caught it by casting a #16 soft hackle nymph w/in a yard of the shore. I maybe got off one strip of the fly before the trout was on.

    The best weapon you have is your knowledge. Keep that edge sharp.
  11. Dustin Bise Active Member

    Posts: 3,088
    509
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    at risk of spilling the beans, there is a large point/shoal system along the southeast shoreline. I would start there. good luck!! also im sure that the inlet and outlet provide fish with suitable habitat.
  12. Dustin Bise Active Member

    Posts: 3,088
    509
    Ratings: +7 / 0
  13. Keith Hixson Active Member

    Posts: 1,507
    College Place, Washington
    Ratings: +55 / 0
    Curiosity I guess.:rofl:

    If you are going to tell about a fly, at least give a description or pic if it isn't a standard fly.

    Keith
  14. constructeur Active Member

    Posts: 1,520
    Seattle, Wa
    Ratings: +412 / 0
    hey and sometimes if the fish aren't biting the swallows might be :ray1:
  15. Keith Hixson Active Member

    Posts: 1,507
    College Place, Washington
    Ratings: +55 / 0
    Use size 22 or smaller hooks if you plan to catch a swallow. They have small beaks. :D

    Keith
  16. obiwankanobi Active Member

    Posts: 1,313
    Ratings: +100 / 0
    Big Show = Banjo Minnow?:confused:
  17. Fritz I like fishing

    Posts: 15
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Is there a fly version of this banjo minnow? It appears that the banjo minnow is a plastic lure:

    http://www.banjominnow.com/
  18. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    I think Fish Fungus needs to be made an acquaintance with the back of someone's hand. The single poster that he is... May he fall victim to the Nigerian Letter. :p
  19. Keith Hixson Active Member

    Posts: 1,507
    College Place, Washington
    Ratings: +55 / 0
    We could glue a banjo minnow to a hook with gorilla glue and call it a streamer and fly fish with it.:D

    Keith
  20. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,264 / 1
    That would be the Gummy Minnow, although it won't play the soundtrack from Deliverance or make you squel like a pig.