hike in lakes

where could we do some overnight camping on a small little trout lake in the mountains? we are going hiking and may want to stay over night. i dont care about size of fish, just i would like to catch some trout. thanks

o mykiss

Active Member
Been meaning to try this myself, but haven't. Somewhere on the WFDW web site there is a nice little article on alpine lake fishing in WA. There is a list of lakes at the end that includes the various species of trout in each lake. You might use this as a starting point.

Rob Blomquist

Formerly Tight Loops
That's one of those questions that can't be answered. There are hundereds of lakes to hike into, and an awful lot of campsites around them. Many of the high lakes that don't freeze solid have populations of trout thanks to the Hi-Lakers. All you need to do is to figure out which one you want to hike to and then go fishing there.

One place to try is www.washingtonlakes.com and check in the Alpine Lakes section. I also really like the Washington State Fishing Guides with their synopsis of what fishing is like in thouslands of places in the state. But I would start first with a decent hiking guide and see what sort of hike you really want, then see if the lake and the end supports trout.

Great idea! Most lakes with maintained trails have designated campsites and poopers. Some small areas may be restricted for rehabilitation. The decision should be made as to what sort of trout your in the mood for and how long and hard you want to hike.You can bring a raft if you want and join the alpine navy! Rainbow, brookies, cutthroat, and (rarely)golden trout are the prey. The most common around here are cutthroat.
I would recomend checking out http://www.vtrail.com , http://www.alpinejo.com and http://www.wta.org/~wta/cgi-bin/web10.pl?TripReports+tr+fr+time for starters.A minority of lakes have not been planted so look out for that. Skeeters and black flies should be expected so be prepared. Snow shouldn't be too much trouble at this point in the season.
Good Luck
Glad to hear that we share a passion. Combining backpacking and fishing is just about the greatest thing that can be done. Adding a few other activities into the mix can help as well but that's another story.

Anyways, it warms my heart to see that people aren't responding to the question with "Oh yeah, head up to SuchandSuch Lake. There's huge cutts in there and you won't find anyone around! It's my favorite lake."

I don't mean to preach but when I surf through sites disclosing information on specific alpine lakes I can feel my ears warm up and a gutwrenching twisting feeling in my winter layer.

Half of the fun in this pursuit is doing a bit of research and getting inventive with available resources. I hate to see the internet making it ever so easy to find secret alpine lake fishing hotspots. Pouring over stacks of USGS maps or (even easier now) a TOPO! CD of Washington's backcountry areas or topozone.com or one those sites is like food for the soul!

I wise man once helped me out with some highlakes information but took a responsible approach. Basically, he said that he wouldn't just go and tell me which lakes had big trout or goldens in them but he said that next time he went I could come along. I think this sort of approach is a bit more responsible. Plus it always helps to increase potential fishing/hiking buddies.

We've got to remember that loose lips sink ships. Some of these lakes we love are amazing fishing because they only get fished by a dozen or so people in a summer! Give the wrong people the right info and you'll hike up to your lake and see one of those old chain stringers tied off to a log with 4 or 5 dead, gravid westslope cutthroat hens on it and a couple of smiling powerbait abusers! Or worse, the Powerbait user who's 'catching and releasing' trout with little Gamakatsu salmon egg hooks in their throats.

Like I said, I don't mean to preach. Half of the fun in knowing about an amazing lake is being able to share it with someone else. But take them up there with you and attempt to instill the same confidence in them.

To the origninal poster...
good luck and if I could offer any specific advice in addition to what's been already posted, it's this:
Definately check out the websites listed in previous emails. Get some lakes off the WDFW list that's linked and them follow them up on Vtrail or in one of the many great 101 hikes series published by the Mountaineers. More spefically, get ahold of some USGS 7.5' series quads (best) or greentrails maps (pretty good) from REI or similar shop (or the internet) and look at the huge choice of alpine lakes in the aptly-named Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area between I90 and US2. Most of these lakes have fish in them, especially the ones below 5000'. You really can't go wrong unless the lake's shallow and freezes solid or goes anoxic in the summer. Take into account the aspect of the lake basin. North-facing lakes are going to stay frozen longer and consequently have shorter growing seasons. Often the longer the hike, the better the fishing (but there are many exceptions). There are tons of really nice, fishy lakes near more popular hike-in lakes which may be shorter on scenery but higher on fishing quality. These may require a bit of a bushwhack and some map and compass skills but they're often worth the blood sweat and tears.
Also, many of the popular hike-in lakes can be excellent fishing as well. Some of them are overpopulated with Brookies and some people actually encourage keeping a few to thin the population a bit and give more food to fewer, bigger fish.

Anways, hope that helps a bit as well and sorry for the diahrea of the mouth/keyboard.


Scott Salzer

previously micro brew
I have always enjoyed trips to hike in lakes off of Highway 2, Barclay, Eagle, Trout, Copper, Surprise, Deception. The problem off of Hgy. 2 & I-90 is the vandalisim at the trailheads. Good luck.


Active Member
Wow, I sorry but I am sitting at my computer laughing! One guy says he doesn't want to preach and then go's on and on and on. the next guy posts 2 sentences with the names of 5 lakes. I'm just shaking my head with a big grin on my face. I agree with both as I love to hike and have a few secret spots of my own. The lakes named above aren't exactly "secret" to anybody that I know. I'm not laughing at the posters above, I guess I just find the whole thing amusing. Kudo's microbrew. :THUMBSUP YT

Scott Salzer

previously micro brew
Whitey: Thanks. Just trying to help people out. You're right, the ones I mentioned are not "secret", but rather nice spots with a lot of brookies. Plenty enough to put a few in the pan! BTW - I don't give away everything!
Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Sorry to 'go on and on and on,' it's just a passionate issue for me. I actually found this site a few months ago by typing in the name of Lake I know (I'll spare it by not naming it again). I just wanted to see if anyone had any trip reports from it, that sort of thing. This was one of three sites that popped up and all of the posts raved about what large cutts this lake had but made no mention of the need for conservation of this type of thing.

I guess that's the other side of the coin, selective distribution of information.
There are a few nice little lakes around Ellensberg. A personal favorite is Manastash Lake up near Bald Mountain. It is approximately an hour and a half hike in from the upper trailhead. The lake itself is fairly brushy around the immediate perimeter. However, one can find a few marshy wide spots and by walking out and across downed trees can find a nice area for uninhibited casting. Check with Woolybuggers Fly Shop in E'berg and they will set you up with the current hatch or bring your spinner. There are lots of fish to be caught here. If you dare to pack a light float tube, the hike is moderately easy (I would do it and know several who do!). Plenty of places to camp around the lake.

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