Leech Lake, 30 June to 3 July, 2009


Sculpin Enterprises
I spent four days harassing brookies and triploids at Leech Lake, an annual/semiannual trip. All four days were sunny; winds varied from calm on some days to gusty winds that continuously changed their compass heading (very annoying). The helicopter transporting supplies for the expansion of the ski area took Thursday and Friday off - yeah!!

I was hoping for a strong Callibaetis mayfly emergence, but, in spite of lots of male spinners bouncing above the surface of the lake at midday, there were few emerging duns and no real spinner falls. Mostly, the boys were looking for girls who were not there (how long can male spinners live??). Perhaps the cloud cover predicted next week will encourage more emergers.

The rushes are just starting to reach the water's surface; they will become prime ambush zones for brookies and triploids alike in the next few weeks. The damsel emergence is just beginning, but it seemed to be stronger with each passing day. The fish weren't ready for damsel dries yet, but they were definitely hot for damsel nymphs.

There were a few large caddis (traveling sedges??) flying around, hordes of microcaddis on two days, and a few alderflies along the shore. After about 1ish, there was a fairly heavy emergence of tiny midges (smaller than a size 22, it seemed); even some of the triploids were somewhat interested.

The biggest surprise (and delight) was the presence of a very large (three-quarters of an inch, closer to size 10 hook than 12) flying black carpenter ant. While there weren't large numbers on the water each day (but I did see a few), their very presence had both the brookies and triploids hitting a parachute ant pattern hard.

I counted 25 - 30 fishers at midday during the week, and fewer, about 20 fishing on Friday, the work holiday. From what I observed, folks were somewhat successful using a variety of strategies (bobber fishing with chironomids, stripping nymphs, trolling nymphs and wooly buggers, and fishing dries) and there were fish scattered across the lake. The mosquitoes are fierce; come prepared, especially in the later afternoon/evening.


Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
Really excellent report and the photos were some of the best fish pictures I think I've ever seen. It's hard getting a good shot of a fish in the water. Nicely done.

Matt Smith

On the river Noyb
Your fishing, pics, and reports this past week have been awesome. Better than the fly mags.

After Coldwater, I was wanting to go there, now I'm going to have to add leech to my ever growing list of road trip fishing spots. Those are some beautiful fish! What kind of camera/filter are you using?


Sculpin Enterprises
Thank you for the kudos, I have Canon Powershot S400, really a nothing special digital camera and it is several years old now. As it is not waterproof (and I take chances on rivers that lead to dunkings), I bought an underwater housing for it. I don't use any special filters. Brookies are so photogenic; as a model photographer would say, "the camera loves 'em."



Active Member
I was up there on Thursday and was surprised to see so many people. I saw a few of the large caddis Steve referred to and stuck on a large Goddard sedge and pretty much kept it strung up most of the day. I probably sacrificed catching more fish by not going subsurface but it's pretty addictive watching fish slash the fly on the surface although I missed lots, probably the smaller brookies missing the fly 'cause I was able to hook most of the larger fish.

I don't understand how that lake doesn't winterkill? The deepest spot I saw all day was 7 feet.

I stopped by Dog for a couple hours on the way home since I hadn't been there in a few years. The surface temp was about 7-8 degrees cooler and the lake is much deeper but isn't as intimate as Leech.


Active Member
Your fishing, pics, and reports this past week have been awesome. Better than the fly mags.

After Coldwater, I was wanting to go there, now I'm going to have to add leech to my ever growing list of road trip fishing spots. Those are some beautiful fish! What kind of camera/filter are you using?
Great pictures Steve! Leech lake brookies are a blast to catch, I chase them with a 2 wt. Not too many lakes around here where you can C&R good sized brookies and some trip's thrown in to make it interesting.---Steve :thumb:
Hey I was there from 07/02-07/04 this week! Great Report...I have nothing to add! Fishing was of course great! I loved it! I am going to make this a yearly trip that weekend as well...Though I will probably be back to the lake a few more times! I love fishing Leech lake!
Sweet report, and beautiful pictures! I have only been there once, and have wanted to go back for years now. I have been looking at campgrounds near there, and it's tough to see where it would be best to go. I will be with my wife two boys 4 and 7 and 9 month old daughter. We have our tenting dialed at the moment, even with a 9 month old. Any suggestions?


Sculpin Enterprises
There are 8 - 10 sites at the northeast end of the lake. They are often pretty full, but you might get lucky (I always have been, but I'm there midweek deliberately). There are also camping sites at Dog Lake, a bit farther east on 12. Leech doesn't really have a "swimming hole" for the boys. There are many more sites farther east on 12, along the upper branches of the Tieton River and Rimrock Lake. They may provide more recreational opportunities, too (and few mosquitoes). The skeeters at Leech are voracious right now; without protection, you and the family may turn into human prunes. It is likely to be drier at Rimrock and the lower Tieton, and there may be fewer skeeters. Also, from Rimrock, you're not that far from Naches if you need supplies (like beer for you and ice cream for the kids).

Brian, if you have your heart set on camping, Steve gave you all the best places to camp. He may have understated just how bad the mosquitoes really are, especially for the young ones! Another option are the condos at the resort: privately owned and most are available to rent. Reasonable prices, fully equipped kitchens, shower and will sleep 6-8 people. We've stayed there a few times and will again. Even saw a couple guys carry their float tubes down the trail to the lake. We fish Dog in the AM[ some really big holdovers...need to fish deep], come back to the lodge for lunch and then fish Leech in the evening. Just an idea...


New Member
My wife and I camped there and the mosquitoes were almost killing us:(.
The bug repellent did not work very well.
They kept coming!
They are the worst mosquitoes I have ever had...

By the way, The fish are very beautiful!
I took a photo of those beautiful fish, but I was kinda disappointed after I saw the photo quality of the fish.
The sunshine was strong. Maybe I need some kind of lens filter...