Backcountry Fishing

#1
Really like watching all these videos on the net about these people who hike into wilderness in search of a small stream or isolated lake where they are surrounded by majestic mountains and beautiful brook trout, rainbows,cutthroat, bulltrout, brown trout. I don't know it just seems like I would have a great day if I could find one of these lakes or streams in a 4500+ elevation. Just the whole camping and being in a human untouched part of the state just seems like a blast. If you don't understand what I'm talking about get on Vimeo and look at backcountry fishing videos and you will be hooked. Anyways I'm just wanting to know what you guys would pack for a 4-7 day hike intto the wilderness. Rod,reel,line,pack,tent,tips,flies,location?
 
#2
A six piece fly rod, any reel, any line as long as the reel and line match the rod. A very light sub 4lb single person back packing tent, you will want flies that catch fish, and you will want to go to a location where there are fish present.
 
#3
I have done this plenty of times in MT, Bob Marshal, CO etc and have done it with a 3 pc and 4 piece, the 4 was a 9'6" and the 3 a 7'6", I've ver felt the need for a 6 piece myself and have done some gnarly wader ripping, skin scarring, rock sliding bush whacking. I often think back wondering what possessed me to do such a thing.

From my experience the fish you find of the beaten path are way more willing than fish in pressured waters. So even with very basic patterns you won't be ignored. You don't need big flies for big fish, meaning the big fish will take small flies just the same, so if you're looking at it from a minimalist angle go with "medium" sized flies when it comes to wooly buggers, black ones and olive ones. Get your terrestrial game on and think ants, beetles, crickets and hoppers. For dries look up a pattern named the crackle back, and use a basic deer hair caddis pattern for dries and a para Adams. Those should all fit in a small box and get you in to fish.

You can rock a 5wt if you don't know what kind of fishing you'll get into and if it gets windy you'll be better of with a 5wt. I used my 5 and a 3 wt depending on where I was going. If only one line was an option I'd go with floating, you can increase your leader length if you want to get deeper, but again, some of those high mountain lake have very greedy fish and they will move a mile to take a fly, so to speak. Reels are of no real concern, get something cheap that holds line.
 
#4
I used to do it all the time. Pack as little as you can get away with. Good quality tent, sleeping bag, and a lightweight stove are pretty mandatory.
You can pack a six or four piece rod, but I prefer a two piece with a sturdy case to double as a walking stick. A reel with floating line, and spare spool with sinking/sink tip. Bug life from lake to lake is different, but I always carry mosquitos, caddis, bushy attractors, plenty of adams in standard and parachute. A wide variety of subsurface flies are required for the larger, deeper lakes that usually have the bigger fish.
Have fun putting some miles on finding the productive ones;)
 
#6
There are actually plenty of books in the library that will give detailed info on lakes fish species and hiking trails leading to them. Or, you can go "off the grid" and use a map.
 
#8
See the current thread about the Central Cascades book, lots of information about various hike in lakes. Or any hiking guide book, look for trails that parallel streams or pass by lakes.
 
#9
Use all the resources you can find. Topo Maps, Google Maps, books, blogs, friends, etc. I find that most fishermen (or women) are lazy and won't walk very far. I can reach rarely-fished water by only walking a mile or two. But I love getting into the backcountry. I have a rod tube that's wide enough to pack two 4-piece rods, and I generally take a 1 wt (for creeks) and a 5 wt (for lakes), plus floating lines for both and a sinking line for the 5 wt. Water will be extremely cold, so it's generally not realistic to fish high mountain streams without waders. I take the lightest hip waders I can find. Fly suggestions from above are great.

Don't over-pack either clothes or food. One extra set of socks and underwear for a week. It's easy to overpack food. I always eat less on the the trail, even though I'm working harder than I do on an average day. If I KNOW there will be fish, I plan on having fish every couple of days as a meal (it's about the only time I don't release every fish). That's the big overview.
 
#10
Use all the resources you can find. Topo Maps, Google Maps, books, blogs, friends, etc. I find that most fishermen (or women) are lazy and won't walk very far. I can reach rarely-fished water by only walking a mile or two. But I love getting into the backcountry. I have a rod tube that's wide enough to pack two 4-piece rods, and I generally take a 1 wt (for creeks) and a 5 wt (for lakes), plus floating lines for both and a sinking line for the 5 wt. Water will be extremely cold, so it's generally not realistic to fish high mountain streams without waders. I take the lightest hip waders I can find. Fly suggestions from above are great.

Don't over-pack either clothes or food. One extra set of socks and underwear for a week. It's easy to overpack food. I always eat less on the the trail, even though I'm working harder than I do on an average day. If I KNOW there will be fish, I plan on having fish every couple of days as a meal (it's about the only time I don't release every fish). That's the big overview.
^^Read above^^
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#11
Agree that the lure of backpacking and trout fishing lakes and streams away from the beaten path is a powerful elixir. When I was in Boy Scouts (early 70's), we hiked all over the Tahoe basin packing telescopic poles and a box of Panther Martins... wish now I had been solidly into fly-fishing at that time because the catching was off the charts.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#12
It's fun to make random discoveries, but if you're just getting into it, I think it's more productive to visit a lake when there are plenty of hungry trout in it. Pick an area you're interested in, and then contact the WDFW inland fisheries biologist for that district. Many high lakes are on a 4-year stocking rotation. Fish lakes 2 and 3 years after the last stocking. The largest fish will be in the 4th year, but there might be only 4 or 5 of them left in the entire lake.

Lakes with natural reproduction usually means they are chock full of 6" pin-headed brook trout, big heads and bodies the size of a string. The rarities are lakes with a small spawning area that maintain a nice self sustaining population well distributed across all age classes, but I've only found a few of those. And getting to them is a piece of work.

Sg
 
#13
I used to do it all the time. Pack as little as you can get away with. Good quality tent, sleeping bag, and a lightweight stove are pretty mandatory.
You can pack a six or four piece rod, but I prefer a two piece with a sturdy case to double as a walking stick. A reel with floating line, and spare spool with sinking/sink tip. Bug life from lake to lake is different, but I always carry mosquitos, caddis, bushy attractors, plenty of adams in standard and parachute. A wide variety of subsurface flies are required for the larger, deeper lakes that usually have the bigger fish.
Have fun putting some miles on finding the productive ones;)

I'll just add, that having a 2 pc rod (inside of a homemade sch 40 PVC case) works well as a bush whacker and a spiderweb clearer.

I love spiders, but hate the feeling after walking through their webs. The whole rest of the day, it feels like you never got the whole thing off!

Oh! And don't forget to bring some ant patterns!
 
#15
Countless places to do this in WA, and while 8" pin head Brookies and similar sized cutts are the norm, I've found a number of lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest with aggro Brookies up to and over 14", or beautiful native cutthroat that will shame any westslope out the Yak in coloring if not in size.

Pull out a map, compare lakes with the Washigton Trails Association website hiking guides and reports, and start exploring. Bigger lakes further from the trailhead often = bigger fish. Higher altitude (above 5,000' in the Cascades) isnt a no go sign, but bug life will decrease the higher you get and fish numbers will as well. Some of those really high lakes are crystal clear with stupid hungry fish though, hard to beat watching them rising to your Royal Wulff or ant from 20 feet down.

What would I bring that hasn't already been mentioned? Bear spray, bourbon and small black wooley buggers.