Chopaka and Stevens county

Joel K

New Member
With thee Churches closed and the lakes opening up had some time to fish Chopaka and explore a bit of the fishing in Steven's County. Chopaka fished really well though every throat sample was like this
View attachment 239278

Fishing pressure both days I fished was moderate.. a dozen boats or so with all concentrated across the launch to the far south end. Water clarity waa exceptional and as usual there are tons of fish in the lake. Didn't see any callubeatis but overheard one guy say he saw some on the far south end where he was able to catch some on dries. Never really spent much time targeting rising fish though there were some mostly near the cattails and bulrushes near shore. Expect though the dry/emerger opportunities to increase in the weeks to come. Most of my efforts were focused on water 8-10 ft deep though I took fish in water as shallow as 2 ft right along shore. Fish seemed to be pretty much everywhere in water 10ft or less. With the primary food source being tiny midge pupae in prolific numbers (and given I did not have that box of 'sz.18-22 pupae with me) I mostly fished blobs which the fish readily ate with reckless abandon. Did catch some fish along the shorelines on blood worms and micro olive balanced leeches but an apricot or apricot/pink blob was the best pattern for me. The takes though were frustrating and often hard to get hooked up on but the trout were eating them throughout the day.. Fishing was pretty simple.. a blob suspended a foot off the bottom under an indicator in 8-10' of water was really it.. only adjustment was to move within a general area if the bite slowed and fish 360 degrees around the boat before moving on.. if you want to catch a lot of fish Chopaka remains a good place for that.. fish were mostly 14-16" with a few at 17-18" and some smaller than 14"..

After two days of that though I was ready for some bigger fish so on my way back to Spokane hit a lake in Stevens County. Not sure what to expect I was pleased by the size and quality of the fish. Fortunately there was a good hatch of chironomids and the pupae were mostly sz. 10-12 rather than the tiny bugs emerging at Chopaka. Again 8-10" of water was the area of focus as the mids' were popping there throughout the day. While some other guys on the lake had success fishing balanced leeches I fished chironomids almost exclusively.. with this pattern being the fliy of the day:
View attachment 239279

The pupae showing up in the samples were sz. 10-12 but the colors varied from "chromies" to black with red butts.. with some olive and olive red butt pupae in the mix as well. A few friends of mine did well on the staple back with red wire rib most have in their box. Suspended a foit off the bottom under an indicator produced throughout the day good numbers of fish like this:
View attachment 239280 View attachment 239281 View attachment 239282 View attachment 239283

All in all a good way to social distance.. hope everyone is getting out to fish some in these surreal times..
Last time I fished Chopaka was in 1974!
With thee Churches closed and the lakes opening up had some time to fish Chopaka and explore a bit of the fishing in Steven's County. Chopaka fished really well though every throat sample was like this
View attachment 239278

Fishing pressure both days I fished was moderate.. a dozen boats or so with all concentrated across the launch to the far south end. Water clarity waa exceptional and as usual there are tons of fish in the lake. Didn't see any callubeatis but overheard one guy say he saw some on the far south end where he was able to catch some on dries. Never really spent much time targeting rising fish though there were some mostly near the cattails and bulrushes near shore. Expect though the dry/emerger opportunities to increase in the weeks to come. Most of my efforts were focused on water 8-10 ft deep though I took fish in water as shallow as 2 ft right along shore. Fish seemed to be pretty much everywhere in water 10ft or less. With the primary food source being tiny midge pupae in prolific numbers (and given I did not have that box of 'sz.18-22 pupae with me) I mostly fished blobs which the fish readily ate with reckless abandon. Did catch some fish along the shorelines on blood worms and micro olive balanced leeches but an apricot or apricot/pink blob was the best pattern for me. The takes though were frustrating and often hard to get hooked up on but the trout were eating them throughout the day.. Fishing was pretty simple.. a blob suspended a foot off the bottom under an indicator in 8-10' of water was really it.. only adjustment was to move within a general area if the bite slowed and fish 360 degrees around the boat before moving on.. if you want to catch a lot of fish Chopaka remains a good place for that.. fish were mostly 14-16" with a few at 17-18" and some smaller than 14"..

After two days of that though I was ready for some bigger fish so on my way back to Spokane hit a lake in Stevens County. Not sure what to expect I was pleased by the size and quality of the fish. Fortunately there was a good hatch of chironomids and the pupae were mostly sz. 10-12 rather than the tiny bugs emerging at Chopaka. Again 8-10" of water was the area of focus as the mids' were popping there throughout the day. While some other guys on the lake had success fishing balanced leeches I fished chironomids almost exclusively.. with this pattern being the fliy of the day:
View attachment 239279

The pupae showing up in the samples were sz. 10-12 but the colors varied from "chromies" to black with red butts.. with some olive and olive red butt pupae in the mix as well. A few friends of mine did well on the staple back with red wire rib most have in their box. Suspended a foit off the bottom under an indicator produced throughout the day good numbers of fish like this:
View attachment 239280 View attachment 239281 View attachment 239282 View attachment 239283

All in all a good way to social distance.. hope everyone is getting out to fish some in these surreal times..
Last Time I fished Chopaka was in June of 1974. I was a salesman with Levi Strauss & Co and we came to Oroville to work with Prince's Dept Store. After our appointment, we drove to the lake and had spectacular fishing for both rainbows and LL Atlantic Salmon. The bows were strong and great fighters but nothing compared to the salmon! They were very skinny but did they put up a fight. Great memory!
 

Big Rob

Active Member
At what point in Aug/Sept do the water temps start to come back down to be safe(er) on the fish? PM me if you want.
 

Joel K

New Member
Hi Big Rob, That's a hard question to answer because I've never fished it in the late summer or fall. As a matter of fact, I haven't fished Chopaka since that day in 1974. That's 46 years ago. If you want to be certain, I'd wait till late September or October. Usually the water temp is lower because are less hours of sun. I would certainly inquire with someone who fishes it on a more current or regular basis. Joel
 

dp

~El Pescador
we typically go right after Labor day. I don't recall the water temps, but the days seldom get warmer than 70 (not the water). it is a great time to go
 

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