Three strikes and I'm out!


Active Member
Today I went scouting some lakes hoping to find something local that was productive when a friend visits later this week. My nearest lake-Big Meadow-has fished well for most of the 18 years I have lived here so I headed up this morning to test fish it. It is basically two lakes, the upper end shallow and the lower end much deeper. Normally I like to kick into the shallow end and fish the open water between the weed beds, often with chironomids. Pulling in today it was obvious that the upper end is almost completely weed covered and rowing my boat through there-much less fishing-was going to be a challenge. So I drove to the lower end and stared at the lake for about 15 minutes. Nothing. Not a single fish rose and the weeds have choked off much of the lower lake as well. It seemed futile to launch so I moved on.

Next I drove to Nile Lake-an enigmatic body of water with a Jekyll and Hyde personality. Upon arriving I noticed that the lake is extremely high for this time of year with the pathetic little launch now being a canal. The beavers at the far end of the lake have been working overtime and have enlarged the lake. With it's sketchy history of any productive fishing and panfish infestation I decided to pass on it and not deal with the crappy put in.

Then up the hill to Black Lake which I haven't fished for several years. On the morning of July 4, 2001 two of us caught 105 brook trout there in about 3 1/2 hours. Over the years it acquired rainbows which took dry flies and provided decent fishing for several years. Then tiger trout were introduced and I saw a couple of 24'' fish come out of there. Today I fished down deep for big fish, took my time and kicked around the whole lake using fast sink lines. I didn't get a bump, saw no fish rise, no chironomid shucks, no birds on the water. The Dead Sea.

Two of those lakes, perhaps all three, I'll never return to. So many lakes are going tits up that it is just sad. One of our most treasured lakes-McDowell-on the Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge has hit rock bottom with a recent winter kill, the return of hordes of panfish and the re-emergence of the milfoil problem. A once great lake that probably won't recover in my lifetime. And Lake Leo nearby was a marvelous cutthroat lake when I moved here with the occasional brook trout to about 2 #. Now it is a put and take lake with hatchery zombie rainbows and a billion crappies. The crappie fishing used to be great around opening day in April but the camping concession was bought up by some conglomerate somewhere and now they charge you to even fart in there. And to make matters worse it no longer opens on opening day but often several weeks afterwards so the great crappie fishing during the spawn is fucked up as well.

That's 5 area lakes that have declined to almost nothing in just the 18 years that I have been here. That doesn't bode well for area fishing. And even Brown's Lake which was arguably the best cutthroat lake in the state years ago got blindsided by a misguided rainbow planting and is taking years to recover if ever.

So tomorrow it is off to sample at least one, maybe two zipper lips lakes and see if there is any hope for them. There is no chance I will ever type the name of those lakes on the internet so there is a possibility that they might still fish well.
this might just be a ploy to keep the named lakes empty for your friends visit. one thing ive noticed in my short career of fly fishing is lakes really can bounce back quick with good management. ive fish a few at years 3-5 post retonone and found great fishing. depends on the lake though i suppose.
I have respectfully removed my hat and shed a tear.
Always hate to see once good water go to Hell in a handbag.
Time, sadly marches on.............


Active Member
I really enjoyed the day I fished Big Meadow so sorry to hear of it's problems and those of McDowell another lake I enjoyed on that trip. I feel lucky to have found some local Central Washington waters that fish well, and haven't needed a treatment. Glad to read your other recent posts that indicate some better trips than this one.

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