High Lakes Opening Up

Dave Westburg

WFF Supporter
Walked into a snow free east slope cascades high lake at 3,900 feet yesterday. Some high lakes are blue. Some high lakes have a tannin peat color. This lake is green. That's a Granger Champion 9050 for you bamboo guys.
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The brookies were cooperative. the best fly combo was a pair of size 14 leadwing coachmen. About a third of the fish hit the dropper. A size 12 carrot nymph took some fish as well.

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Look at the fins on this brookie.
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Anyone else still fishing classic wet flies? The leadwing coachman and coachman are great flies for beaver ponds and high lakes when terrestrials are buzzing about. I favor jay wings or starling over mallard. Jay and starling are softer, easier to tie in and more lifelike in the water. I sometimes use furnace or greenwells hackle rather than brown.
leadwing coachmen.jpg
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Active Member
Are you using a packable float tube? I’ve been looking into alpine lake setups. If so, what one and what fins and waders? I’ve been looking at alpaca rafts but the wind/raft combo can be a pain.

A lot of hikes that I do are fairly strenuous in terms of distance and elevation. Many do not have trails.

Dave Westburg

WFF Supporter
I've been using a wilderness light float tube for a couple years. Durable. Weighs about 3lbs and has a very small light pump which inflates in a couple minutes. It works great for high lakes where I'm not far from the shore. I usually leave it partly deflated and secure it to my pack with bungee cords. This pic was taken about 7,000 feet up in eastern wa.

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The tube comes with some really light fins. You need to be careful walking in them. They are slick and they are brittle.

Dave Westburg

WFF Supporter
Do you pack in waders as well Dave?
Waders are a must. The high lakes are cold. You also need to dress warm because you sit lower in the water in the wilderness lite than you do in a float tube. I usually wear long underwear, long wool pants, sweater and hooded jacket even on warm days.


Watch that Backcast
WFF Supporter
The Wilderness Lite is the evolutionary offshoot of my old Wind River Glide Rider. I believe the bladders are interchangeable And yes, you do sit low, they should have called it Low Rider. IMHO the best float tube ever made, unbeatable for packing into a lake.


Hi Dave.
I enjoy your posts and I have a Wilderness Light float tube as well. I see in your picture that you have a pack that you attach to the tube for hiking. Could you share the brand and size of the pack please? I have tried hooking the tube to the d rings on my fly vest but doesn't work well enough. Thank you. ChuckH

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