Alpine Laker in search of fish

#1
I’m relatively new to Washington and am looking for places to go Alpine lake fishing. I’m not afraid to hike in fact I prefer it if it means getting away from crowds and finding bigger, more stupid fish. Anyone want to share with me their second best spot? I’m especially interested in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I took a trip there last summer to the Foss River area and hit up a bunch of lakes and did pretty poorly. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
#2
no thanks. :) the best way to get away from crowds is to find a place you have never heard of or seen mentioned and walk there (bonus points for spots with no marked trail on the map). safe travels.

more then happy to give advice on fishing alpine lakes or backpacking though. let me know if you have questions in that regard.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#5
Hey, you're looking for the same lake as I am! The one with the big stupid trout. I like to hike ultra-light, and I only need to carry one fly pattern when the trout are stupid enough.

Regarding which lakes, check the WDFW website. It lists high lake stocking by county, fish species, and date or naturally reproducing. Unfortunately there is no list of big stupid ones. You might consider joining the High Lakers or Trail Blazers and learn about their high lake and fish stocking activities. But they make you give up your first born before they tell you where the big stupid trout are.

Hint: if a well known and popular trail passes by a lake, that's not where the big stupid ones are.
 

Shad

Active Member
#6
Never fished the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I've found plenty of big, stupid trout in the lowlands and foothills (for about 2 months per year). When I do fish in the high country, I typically find the trout stupid, but rarely do I find them large. Of course, that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the extra sweetness that comes with hiking into that cool spot. The fishery you work for is often the most rewarding.

I seem to recall reading recent accounts that some of the alpine lakes that have been stocked in the past aren't getting stocked anymore. If anyone knows which ones those are, it would be a nice gesture to help out our new member with a list of places NOT to go....
 
#7
Thanks for the advice Yeah even where not to go is helpful. I don’t need lunkers . I’m just tired of either catching nothing or catching 6 inchers. Hiking to the fish is half the reward. I went to Copper lake, Big Heart lake, and Trout Lake in the Foss River area last summer. Beautiful area and the lakes were gorgeous but I caught 2 fish over three days.
 

David Loy

Senior Moment
#8
You might also reach out to the HiLakers club, assuming it’s still active. Search and Ye shall find. They have regular meetings and tons of info and experience to share.
 

Old Man

Just an Old Man
#11
I’m relatively new to Washington and am looking for places to go Alpine lake fishing. I’m not afraid to hike in fact I prefer it if it means getting away from crowds and finding bigger, more stupid fish. Anyone want to share with me their second best spot? I’m especially interested in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I took a trip there last summer to the Foss River area and hit up a bunch of lakes and did pretty poorly. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
You should of fished the Foss river. There are some big stupid fish in it also.
 

Smalma

Active Member
#12
Daniel -
Washington is blessed with literally thousands of alpine lakes and collectively they offer a wide range for fishing opportunity. While it is certainly to find fish in a few lakes where the largest individuals can be measured in pounds. However one should expect that the better lakes would provide consistent fishing for 10 to 14 inches with the occasional fish pushing 20 inches. There are also lots of lakes with decent numbers of smaller fish.

In general alpine lakes with their shorter growing seasons the trout are relatively slow growing with those lakes with limited numbers of fish (low densities) likely to grow the larger fish. Because of this truism those lakes with natural reproduction rarely produce larger fish and often have a population of stunted fish (have seen situations where some fish were dying of old age at 6 inches). Those lakes with eastern brook trout or westslope cutthroat most likely to have self-sustaining populations. The lakes that often offer the best chance of exceptional alpine fish are planted infrequently (every 5 to 7 years) with low densities of fry (less than 100/acre) and even then the best chance for a nice fish is late in the planting cycle. Of course that means there are relatively fish in the lake. Because of the fragile nature of fisheries of some of those better lakes (minimal pressure can have a big effect) most folks don't talk much about their better lakes. Finding those waters typically require significant work on part of the angler. Finding those waters often take a combination of winter research and extensive exploration during the summer.

Another important aspect of doing well in the alpine country involves refinement of one's fishing skills. While the fish like in harsh and limited habitats the trout are rarely suicidal. They often live in waters that are as clear as alcohol and be very spooky. Learn to fish carefully and play attention to what the fish are doing. If possible an afternoon breeze can be your friend providing cover to your presentations. With a "friendly chop" can be go time for dries. Having a light weight raft can provide access to water out of reach of the shore angler. While it always fun to catch the fish on the surface there will be times that fishing sub-surface will be more productive. Have an additional sinking line (a type 4 and/or a clear intermediate line) on an extra spool are well worth the few ounces they add to your pack. The fly often is not near as critical as the presentation. Have a few dry flies (terrestrials, caddies, and attractors), some generic nymphs and other pet flies should be adequate. In fact over the decades on most lakes most days a simple size 12 or 10 soft hackle with a dark olive body reliably has produced fish as well as any.

Enjoy your time in the high country being sure to appreciate all that country has to offer and with time you will create many memories and more than a few surprises.

Curt
 
#13
thanks. Yeah I have a good float tube and ultra light fins n waders. I’ve spent lot of time bumming through Montana and glacier park but not Washington. Absolutely gorgeous country. 10-14 inch fish would make for a happy trip.
 

bakerite

Active Member
#15
In general I have done much better in waters East of the Mountains. There is great fishing in a bunch of the lakes in Eastern Oregon and the few I've fished in Eastern Washington are more like the waters in Montana. Not sure why but may have to do with the amount of snow (less) and the water chemistry. I've seen mountain lakes at 6,000+ feet with significant weed growth and good hatches instead of the generally sterile bowls found in the Olympics and west side of the Cascades.
 

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