Quality fishing at some general regulation lakes

Starman77

Active Member
#1
General reg rainbow.jpg


I've been having some fun exploring some of the small, hike-in, general regulation lakes in eastern WA this spring. Most fly fishermen naturally tend to gravitate towards our "quality" waters, like Lenice, Nunnally or Dry Falls, but I'd encourage you to keep an open mind about some of the general regulation lakes that may offer a better quality experience than some of our "quality" selective fisheries, especially if you like some solitude when fishing, as I do. As I see it, the problem is that our "quality" lakes are so over-pressured that the fish are caught repeatedly and thus don't fight as well as they used to. We are figuratively and literally loving our quality lakes to death. Even C&R fishing has an incidental mortality rate, which might not amount to much for one individual, but when multiplied by a large number of fly fishermen, it can be significant.

What I've found is that a hike-in lake will deter 90% of the fishermen, thus I rarely run into other fishermen on these small hike-in lakes. It helps if there isn't too much shoreline access so the lake doesn't get fished out by the PowerBaiters. By this I mean tall reeds or basalt cliffs. The lake should be planted with fry only, as that produces about as wild a fish as we'll find in our desert lakes. You'll find mostly small fish (10 to 12 inchers), but there will be occasional holdovers (16 to 20 inches), like the one shown in the photo above (before anyone gives me flack for placing the fish on the grass, this fish was retained for scientific purposes and for consumption). The fish almost all fight really well, with about half being great jumpers, and most looking like they've never been caught previously. The PowerBaiters thin out the numbers of fish, so the remaining fish have plenty of food and grow fat and strong.

I fully realize that by sharing these thoughts I might have a bit less solitude on some of these small lakes, but maybe by spreading out us fly fishermen to a greater number of lakes we'll bring back our "quality" selective fisheries to a semblance of their former glory.

Rex
 
#3
Good description of my favorite way to fish. By far it's the best experience a guy can have out there. Oh, and unless you start naming lakes you won't see others joining you any time soon. With rare exception people really don't want to research/explore, or even hoof it in somewhere...can't say that bothers me.
 

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
#4
I fish the "anything goes" regulation lakes. I fished two with Starman earlier this year. Tried to get him to fish some others with me and he thought they were too close to a road.
 

Plecoptera

Active Member
#6
One of the downfalls that I see with some of the "quality lakes" is the stocking density is too high to produce larger fish. When fish can be retained, it can open up more forage for the fish that aren't harvested. I'm all for having quality managed C&R lakes, but they don't always provide better fishing or a better experience. Many of my favorite lakes in the state are managed under general regulations.
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
#8
Starman,
Nice fish and you make some excellent points.
I've caught all of my biggest eastern Wa fish in put and take lakes.
If you can find a lake that has been rehabbed then planted with fry, the third year after the rehab can offer some great fishing.
Fish that survive the first two years will be a nice quality hard fighting fish by the third year. Much better quality and fighting fish then triploids in my opinion.
I think in many of the quality lakes on both sides of the state they plant way to many fish for the size of the lakes.
SF
 
#9
Starman,
Nice fish and you make some excellent points.
I've caught all of my biggest eastern Wa fish in put and take lakes.
If you can find a lake that has been rehabbed then planted with fry, the third year after the rehab can offer some great fishing.
Fish that survive the first two years will be a nice quality hard fighting fish by the third year. Much better quality and fighting fish then triploids in my opinion.
I think in many of the quality lakes on both sides of the state they plant way to many fish for the size of the lakes.
SF
Hey!! Watch that triploid comment;)
 

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
#10
Starman,
Nice fish and you make some excellent points.
I've caught all of my biggest eastern Wa fish in put and take lakes.
If you can find a lake that has been rehabbed then planted with fry, the third year after the rehab can offer some great fishing.
Fish that survive the first two years will be a nice quality hard fighting fish by the third year. Much better quality and fighting fish then triploids in my opinion.
I think in many of the quality lakes on both sides of the state they plant way to many fish for the size of the lakes.
SF

I've caught some triploids that used my flyline to slice thru the water. It's only been a few times that water was thrown up on both sides of the fly line as the fish made a mad run. One was with a triploid.
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
#14
on the Triploid note. has anyone else noticed how lethargic they have been this year ?
I caught one last Saturday that was about 17". What a pathetic POS. Reeled it right to the rod tip without any fight in it.
Maybe it didn't fight because it couldn't swim well since half its fins were missing.
SF
 

Peyton00

Active Member
#15
I am a mnt lakes fisherman. I like the drive, the hike and the solitude. The fish are great fighters and if camping, they taste great.
I agree about the trips being soft and lazy, they do pull hard( as they should at the 4+lb range), but they give up the fight way to early.