Castle Lake

I was at castle lake this past weekend, and had a good day. The trout were really fat, healthy and very aggressive, and the scenery was awsome! I believe that I caught and released about 46 fish during the day. It made the hike down worth while. The largest was about 18". There was no hatch, so I used rubber-leg grasshoppers right near the logs.

The best part was watching all of the Elk bugleing and being defensive of their territory on the hike down. There were at least 6, 5-point bulls on the hills during the walk down.

This was my second time there and the fishing was similar this spring. (though the fish were not as fat.) I was wondering if fishing was always this good at this lake.

How long of a hike? Would it be feasable to drag a pontoon boat (if you had a wheel attatched to it...rikshaw style)

How deep is the lake and is it hidden or out in the open?

Hey Dano,

The lake is about a 4.5 mile hike in with a 1500' elevation loss going in. The walking is pretty easy, as it is on an old loggin road, but it is a long way. I have carried my float tube and waders as well as camping gear to stay over night and that was quite a
hike. You probably could drag a pontoon down, but I would not recommend it. Going as light as possible is your best bet. A friend of mine took his camping and fishing stuff down with a wheelbarrow and it took him about 6 hours to get back out!

You do need a tube also. The lake was created when St Helens erupted and dammed up castle creek. It gets deep really quickly and there are trees around almost all of the lake. It is pretty big, around 2 miles long and a half mile wide. It can get windy, and there are also a lot of blowdown trees still floating around the lake, so you have to watch out for them. Also, if the logs are all against the shore, it is sometimes hard to get to the water in your tube!

All of the fish are native! I think that some steelhead smolts were trapped in the lake after the eruption and are now landlocked steelhead, or rainbows. They look really different though. Some are nice looking rainbows and some are silver with green backs just like a steelhead. Castle creek did have a steelhead run before the eruption.

If you go let me know, I might be talked into joining you. I love that lake!



Active Member
I've fished Castle every year since 94 and it is still my favorite lake. I've found the fishing to be good just about any time of the year that you can make it in there. I did experience some almost supernatural fishing in May one year, but fishing is always good. The average size of the fish has decreased over the past couple years. A few years ago the average fish was around 17" with fish into the low 20"s. Now the average is around 12" with a few pushing into the high teens. But there are still a few pigs in there and fishing Castle is still a blast regardless of the size of the fish. There is no way in the world I would bring a pontoon boat down, well maybe down, but not back up. I've had good luck fishing from the shore. The fish seem to be very shore-line orientated, so you can get away with casting along the shore with out getting your fly lost in the Alders on your backcast.
How were the roads getting in, any trouble with gates being closed?
Hey Jeff I'll let you know the next time I'm heading up if you want to go let me know.