New Member
I was at Chopaka the last few days and the water level is at least 5 feet low. Does anybody know why this is and if the state is doing anything to keep this lake as one of the best fly fishing lakes in the state?
So, how about the fishing? Been reading about this lake for a couple of years now and have it pegged on the map to hit. Have a big 4-0 birthday coming up this summer and the wife keeps asking what I want to do to celebrate. Haven't broken it to her yet that I want to head out for several days on a fishing tour. Trouble is, birthday is in August and I understand the lakes don't produce well during the hot summer months. But, back to the water level was down...were the fish rising?
The fishing can still be good in August it's just your window to catch fish in a day gets smaller because they usually only bite the first hour or two in the morning and the last hour or two of daylight.

Now if you don't mind fishing at night you can get into some really good fishing in August, and catch the biggest browns in the lake if there are any in the lakes you are planning on fishing. Plus you can hammer a lot of nice bows at the same time with a big black woolly bugger or leach pattern the same flies also work good for the browns.
hey TR nice to see you joined the Washington Flyshing page. Nobody has a clue about Chopaka. The previous guys can't be serious about fishing it in August. I have yet to hear why the lake is so low. But it is definetly going to hurt the fishing. As well as thew 100000000 guys that go to the lake each weekend. Chopaka is overrated now. It too bad!
Mike, fill me in on the August deal. Can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. I'm learning the lakes (been 2x now, both to Lenice) as previously fished only river. What's the scoop with August?
Hi Bug bitten,

Lake Chopaka as with many lakes get warm in August. Even though Chopaka is above 3000 feet in elevation the water temperature will get fairly warm. Therefore when catching a fish in warm water it is extremely hard on the fish. So my advice is to give Chopaka a break in August and give it try the second or better yet third week of September when the nights are cool, the water temperature is going down and the leaves are turning. I think you'll enjoy the expereince just as much and it will be better for this fishery. This lake is hard hit and we need to be sensitive toward it!
Tight lines,
Thanks for the translation. I can respect and appreciate what you're saying. Without clarification, I could have taken your first reply to mean that I was an idiot to think that fishing wasn't good in August. Now that you've explained I see the logic and as I mentioned I'm in a learning curve so thanks for the info and advice. I'll leave the lake alone in August. Have a great Memorial weekend. Ken
There is an earthen dam just below the outlet to the lake. It is a man-made dam that has kept the lake level up 5-7 feet more than the present level. It formed a small pond area below the lake outlet. Someone or something has broken that dam and now the water is at a level that must be what it was originally. My fishing buddies walked down to the dam and noticed it had been blasted out or eroded out somehow. So, unless someone repairs that hole in the dike, the lake will return to what mother nature intended, which is a little too low for my liking. I thought that the last few years of drought caused the water level drop. But not so.

o mykiss

Active Member
The question remains: how has Chopaka been fishing? I'm supposed to be heading up there in a week and a half. If the low water level has killed the fishing, I'd prefer to spare myself the 7 hour drive.

If you are wanting a the old Chopaka it is not fishing like what you expect. We were up last week and the hatch is terrible. Frankly the fish were not of Chopaka size either. The only thing that was normal was the crowd. Sadly this lake is a mere shadow of itself even from just three years ago. Save yourself the time.
First, let me admit that I'm talking out the side of my head here, as I haven't been to Chopaka in several years, but I do have a fair amount of experience there. I certainly don't like some of what I've been hearing about it over the last season or so, what with sunfish and bass introductions and what not, but I try to hold out admittedly sentimental hope against dispair.

As good as Chopaka can be (at its best I would rank it with the top trout fisheries in the world - seriously), there have always been years worth skipping. As good as it is, it is still a planted system, after all, and it has always run on cycles, about 3-4 years, with the worst years often following the best. (There is precious little spawning available at Chopaka - in low water years none. Trout in lakes only live so long, and those really big beautiful Chopaka bruisers are actually pretty close to the end of the line.) The good news was always that maybe one bad year would be preceded by steadily improving (sometimes great) ones, culminating in one or two spectacular seasons.

Now I don't know, maybe WDFW isn't managing it as closely as they used to, and the cycles have gotten mucked up. It's hard to believe the incredible hatches could go away. There are at least two major mayfly hatches, several caddis including big traveling sedge, who knows how many chironomids including those massive early-season pink ladies, and one of the best damselfly emergences you'll ever see - after a June trip, you'll have adults emerging out of the folds in your tube and waders for a few days, and the adult-damsel fishing in mid to late June can just get scary. And there can be days when it's all happening at once. But who knows? Maybe the grazing that has always gone on up there has gotten way out of hand.

But it's hard to believe that incredibly fertile system could just give it up. Chopaka is no flash in the pan; it's been providing world class flyfishing for decades. So I'm going to continue to hope that the implications of its demise are premature.

That said, there HAVE always been years worth skipping, and I've been there on several of them. Maybe this is one. However, I will say that I've always thought June was better than May up there (sorry if that just adds to your indecision, Mykiss, and if May REALLY stunk, well...). The good news is that there are excellent fall-backs close by, Ell, Aeneus, the excellent if non-flyfishing lakes like Concunully, AND you're not even that far from from the Kamloops lakes in BC.