8 lakes in 7 days


Active Member
I recently concluded a 7 day tour of some northern tier lakes. Leaving home the day after Labor Day my first stop was to investigate North Twin on the Rez after seeing pics of 8# rainbows caught in there. Some lakes just don't seem right to me and that was one of them so I left without launching. But I was reasonably close to Long Lake-the fly fishing only cutthroat lake-so I drove up and spent the night there. I had heard that the lake was really overpopulated with small fish and it certainly was but nevertheless I caught a number of brilliantly colored 15'' fish and one 17''. In the evening the dry fly fishing with a mahogany bodied parachute Adams was just insanely good. Sadly I was the only guy on the lake and the aggressive loons made life miserable for me. The male-as big as a turkey-made repeated attempts to steal my fish and at one point swam between my legs! I retreated. The next morning the fishing was just outrageous again and by midday I was bored by so many fish.

I moved down to Bonaparte Lake where I usually catch at least one immature Mackinaw and several tiger trout but it was like the Dead Sea out there. The rising fish I had cast to in the spring were gone and nothing was moving on the water. I left at first light the next morning and was fishing another lake at sunrise.

From here the report gets sketchy as I don't want to name lakes but I caught around 20-25 large fish on the next lake with all but 3 around 16'', deep bodied and well fed. Biggest was 21" and several took me almost to the backing. I can tell you that almost all were taken on either a size 14 or 12 Halfback.

From there I moved on up to Roper's GlenRaven ranch and spent a couple of days there. We fished a local lake one night where we were the only guys on the lake and Roper put on an absolute clinic catching 12 or 15 fish between 2 1/2 and 4+ pounds included 6 on consecutive cast. Giggling like a co-ed on her third glass of champagne Roper continued to hook fish right up to the end. It was weird that I could only land 3 since we both had similar length rods, both used Rio Deep Five lines, both used flouro tippets and similar flies. Sometimes you're the windshield-sometimes You're the bug. The ones I did catch were huge though-19" and 3 1/2 to 4+ pounds.

The next day it was another 12-15 big fish on halfbacks with one taking all of my fly line and over 20 feet of backing before slowing down. I thought it might be a 24'' fish but it turned out to be bay bellied 19 1/2 rainbow that was around 4#. Several of these fish launched over 3' in the air and 3 of them threw the fly back at me. It was exciting fishing and being the only guy on the lake I had no one to share it with. A lake with huge fish and no fishermen-I could get used to that!

I got some good recon later in the day when a couple more guys showed up. I asked one guy where he had been fishing and he told me he had been on Blue Lake the day before and had only caught one 12'' Lahontan. I figured I could probably do better than that so I went to Blue and fished it for a few hours. I was right-I did do better. I caught FOUR 12'' Lahontans! :rolleyes:

The next morning I headed south and using the recon supplied a day earlier fished a lake where I caught 13 fish of 16-19'' and had one even bigger at the net before it unzipped. I was getting arm weary by then so after only a little over 2 hours and about 20 fish hooked I threw in the towel. I'm sure I could have caught huge fish until dark but needed to find a campground and get some rest.

I drove south to Coffeepot to do some recon for an upcoming trip and spent the night. I was too tired to go out in the evening but hit it at dawn the next morning. Fishing was very slow as a cold front was coming in and the wind picking up. I hooked 3 fish but lost all three at the net and with whitecaps and huge swells on the main lake it was time to retreat. I had been the only guy on the lake and kicked up about a half a mile when the weather went south. Back in the lagoon I noticed another truck in the parking lot next to mine and was surprised to hear someone call my name. Looking around I saw my friend Buzzy on the lake and visited with him before taking out. What a pleasant surprise!

About 3 1/2 hours from home now I was starting to get anxious to be home but wanted to stop at Olive Garden for a big salad and some breadsticks before making the last 2 hour drive. I ate the entire salad and all of the breadsticks plus a big bowl of pasta before burping my way out of there.

Back home at last I just drove in to the driveway and jumped out and went to bed. Just burned out. But by now I am back to full strength and am packing for my next trip starting Sunday evening. More big fish scheduled for next week!

My Halfback supply was severely dented on this trip as 80% of all my catches were made on those tiny flies. Another dozen will be needed in the coming week. I tried some bigger patterns but by this time of year fish have seen every iteration of wooly bugger in the world but seldom see a well tied halfback. Tie some up, fish it deep and slow and be amazed.



Geriatric Skagit Swinger
Great report Ive! Loving the confidence to go fish where a guy had poor luck. Hopefully next time it pays off a little better.
Great report!

I actually did a similar (although shorter!) trip about a week after you. I did one night at Long Lake, and then headed to Bonaparte. The camp host said the fishing hadn't been too hot, so I headed up to Chopaka for a couple nights. After that, I went to the 'other' Blue lake for the final 2 nights of my trip. Besides the bees there, I had a great time hauling in a mix of brown and rainbows.

I had the same experience as you with the loons at Long Lake. I had never seen one up close and couldn't believe how aggressive they were. Beautiful birds though.


Idiot Savant
Ive, it was great having you at the house, always enjoy our time together. Don't brag me up too big, I went back to the lake and did no where near as well.

I think I caught the one 22" Lahontan in Blue, though it looked a bit snakey, not as fat as they were last year. They need to eat some of those 12 inch rainbows.

At that lake south of us I managed close to a dozen rainbows there that were 14 -18 inches, on a boobie of all things.

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