Why Chopaka is special....

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Vladimir Steblina, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Vladimir Steblina

    Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

    There are lots of lakes that produce bigger fish and offer much better fishing opportunities.

    This year, my largest fish was 8 lbs and it came from a regular five fish limit lake. In fact, this year was the year of large fish. Unfortunately, all the lakes were regular five fish limit lakes.

    That means that they will go through the cycle of producing large fish, being discovered, and then becoming average lakes. Some of the lakes I will continue to fish, but others will be dropped.

    The importance of lakes like Chopaka is that they remain consistent year after year. And each year you fish one of these lakes, you learn something new. Fishing new lakes every year is fun. However, I learn much more from those lakes that I fish on a regular basis.

    If I could I would fish one lake throughout the year. Maybe every two or three weeks. I am sure that I could learn much more than switching lakes every trip.

    Lakes like Chopaka are special for this reason. We seldom have memories of places we have fished only once.

    The special places are those that become part of our lives.
  2. Nick Clayton

    Nick Clayton Active Member

    The very reason I love my little local lake so much. Well said.
  3. triploidjunkie

    triploidjunkie Active Member

    After reading an article by(I think) John Gereich in the nineties I couldn't wait to get up there. When I finally got my driver's license, I beat feet up there with my float tube whatever knowledge I could glean from books and magazines. Oddly, I never fell in love with the place like many others did. I've had great days up there, but with such great local lakes, the hour drive just didn't seem worth it. Especially since I had to drive right by Ell lake in it's prime. I haven't been up there since the rehab, but hear it's making a comeback to the glory days.
  4. bakerite

    bakerite Active Member

    I heard about Chopaka when I was 13 from John Staymen (spelling) who ran the shell station and was a member of the Olympic Fly Fishers in Edmonds. He told about catching a 5 pound trout on a dry and it sounded like Mecca. First made it up there about 1978 or so. Fishing was great with both cutts and rainbows and the first huge calibaetis hatch I ever saw. It always seemed a little like a Kamloops lake that was in the Washington Okanogan. Until I left Washington 20 years ago I made it up there quite a bit. My best trip was one of the first ones with my wife. We took the canoe to the far end and camped right by the lake under a stand of big Ponderosas. The was a Goldeneye family on a log in front of the camp all week and no other people at that end. I would fish the edges during the mayfly hatch and spinner fall, but the best fishing that trip was the last 30 minutes of light throwing buggers against the rushes. We also swam, hiked and watched the critters. For me too many people can really change an experience so I am sorry to hear that are so many folks up there now. That's what makes this part of Eastern Oregon so special.
  5. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

    I have a really good memory of Chopaka from about 10 years ago. Our fly club (4th Corner Fly Fishers) was having an outing there in the spring. About 10 of us were all anchored near each other doing the chironomid thing and all catching many nice trout. There was a kid trolling by in a float tube and he said "am I the only one on this lake not catching fish!" I told him to paddle over, tied him up with some fluoro leader, bobber (or indicator if you prefer), and showed him how to tie a fly on with a loop knot. Gave him a handful of chronies set the bobber at 10' and told him to go fish about 15 yards from me. He proceeded to catch one fish after the other, shouting and laughing the whole time. Later that night he stopped by camp and gave me a big hug telling me it was the best day of his life! Watching him catch fish was a lot more fun for me than catching them myself, and that is my best memory of Chopaka. Rick
  6. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

    Gee Rick you brought a tear to my eye -

    I have a different view of lake fishing, I tend to get really bored when I get A lake figured out and just have to move on. I think it has to do with "challenge" this last spring I got a lake dialed in and found a spring and took some people and had a lot of fun, but just had to venture out to another lake some 100 miles away. I fished the other lake by myself and figured it out also on the first trip with 4 days of fishing. the next trip I fished both the lakes and when I went to the second lake I just got bored with it within one day. I could of started using different methods to catch fish and make it interesting but I already was doing so well I didn't bother.

    Now I am leaving for a 5 day trip next week to the farthest lake (because they drained the other lake) and will only have one lake to fish. I did do some research on another lake but it's another 75 to 100 miles away from my target lake and having to spring for all the gas to get on the east-side of oregon to the lake (350 miles) I don't know if I will be able to go fish the second lake for the first time ever! At first planing buelah res. was going to be my "challenge" on this trip now I don't know if I will make it to that lake so I hope I don't get bored with catching big bows at malhuer to soon.

    I guess it's just me but I love new lakes and get all fuzzy inside when I figure them out. I think it boasts my ego or something.

    Bakerite I think we need to really "learn" the best lakes over your way. not just malhuer but all of them in the next year or so! And if you can't make it? beings thief will not fish good next spring I will be spending many a day over between malhuer and buelah and the surrounding areas great lakes you keep mentioning to me. hope you make it to malhuer next week. I'm inventing a new pattern for over there right now, it's my theory that it will catch any fish that swims by - but we know how theories are - everyone has one!
  7. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

  8. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

    Nicely stated.

  9. dp

    dp ~El Pescador

    I was introduced to Chopaka 3 years ago and usually go late Aug/early Sep. I will continue to go back because of the scenary and abundance of fish. Not big fish and some days were not stellar, but an excellent place to get away from everything for a few days. It has not been overly crowded and I've met some good people on my trips. I think if I went in the Spring or a holiday weekend, the crowds would be larger and that may sway me.
    I would say my home water is Lenice and I have not been there since June (been king and coho fishing in the sound via boat, not shore). I have the itch to go back, but I think I will wait another week or two for the weather to cool. there is some great fishing to be had before it closes for the year.
    Lake fishing (referring to fly fishing specifically) gets me away from the daily grind and revitalizes me. I can't sleep the night before and can't get there quick enough. Fishing still excites me!
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  10. bakerite

    bakerite Active Member

    Great post Rick, introducing and helping others enjoy fly-fishing is a great way to preserve our fisheries. That's part of why Chopaka, Pass, and the other fly-fishing only lakes are important to me. I have found most guys that are fly-fishing are willing to share what they are doing with others. That makes these fly only waters great places for beginners to go to find out what to do. They also have a history of patterns and techniques that work and have been passed down through the people who are there. That's also why it's so sad when these waters are destroyed are altered by illegal planting of spiny rays like the SMB in Chopaka, or the LMB in Davis here in Oregon.
  11. sroffe

    sroffe Member

    My last time I was up at Chopaka, I took my son who caught his first trout on a fly. We worked hard for that fish. The fishing was slow, it was windy all day, and I rowed my arms off. After dinner, the wind died and I asked Robert if he would like to try it again. So we went out, and I looked a way for a second. Next thing I know, I hear a nervous giggle, rod up, tip bent down, and him reeling like crazy!.

Share This Page