Dusty Lake access

Wayne Kohan

fish-ician
One of the lakes that has been on my bucket list for years has been Dusty. I have never been in that area really, not fished any of the lakes up there. Why would I pass up the good fishing at Lenice to head to a lake that may or may not produce as well for me. When I first heard of it about 25 years ago, I was told that it is a scramble down and in with a float tube, unable to get a pontoon in there from above, but could do that from below with a long walk. I only owned a pontoon at that time so I never made it up that way. Today, being a wonderfully nice day, I decided to take the wife and explore the area there. We arrived at the Dusty Lake trail next to Burke Lake and headed down the trail. It is an interesting trail to say the least. I am 62, in reasonably decent shape, and it is hard for me to imagine carrying my float tube down that trail without a lot of difficulty. Seems like the tube would be bouncing off rocks and sagebrush all the way down. I could imagine doing this 20 years ago, but not so much now. My wife likes to walk/hike, she does not like steep trails, at all, but we are still married, I believe. Actually, I did drive down to the lower trailhead after we got back to the truck, and followed that in. A much better trail, but we went to Ancient Lakes instead of Dusty. (I figured I should have kept going right instead of left.) I suspect if I get around to fishing this lake, it will probably be from the lower trail.

I'm thinking that WFF should come up with some merit badges like the Boy Scouts, and doing the upper Dusty trail should warrant on of those badges.

So is it really that tough? Or am I just a wimp? BTW, I have an Outcast SFC with backpacking straps.

Wayne

PS. That is gorgeous country there for hiking. Highly recommend.
 

b_illymac

Soap Lake Posse
WFF Moderator
Ancient trail way is three miles one way just fyi. It is a little scramble downhill from above:D
 

doublespey

Steelhead-a-holic
First time I went was in the evening, hiking in to join some friends camping out at the the lake at the end of the trail. This was over 30 years ago.

Fished thru the night and caught a few small fish and was about to give up at about 5am when I hooked a toad casting along the south shore cliffs with a black maribou muddler.

It dragged me around in my tube for a bit, taking me down near my friend's campsite. I yelled for him to get his ass out of the tent, that I had a big fish on the line. He stumbled out rubbing his eyes and yelled "this better be good".

It was - the fat 29" Brown chose that moment to jump, almost as if on cue. Have a great picture of my redeyes staring out from beneath my cap in and the glow of that monster Brown before I let it go.

Sadly, reports are that in the last 10 years that lake has suffered from poaching and the fishing has tanked. But a beautiful lake and a great memory.
 

longputt

Active Member
One of the lakes that has been on my bucket list for years has been Dusty. I have never been in that area really, not fished any of the lakes up there. Why would I pass up the good fishing at Lenice to head to a lake that may or may not produce as well for me. When I first heard of it about 25 years ago, I was told that it is a scramble down and in with a float tube, unable to get a pontoon in there from above, but could do that from below with a long walk. I only owned a pontoon at that time so I never made it up that way. Today, being a wonderfully nice day, I decided to take the wife and explore the area there. We arrived at the Dusty Lake trail next to Burke Lake and headed down the trail. It is an interesting trail to say the least. I am 62, in reasonably decent shape, and it is hard for me to imagine carrying my float tube down that trail without a lot of difficulty. Seems like the tube would be bouncing off rocks and sagebrush all the way down. I could imagine doing this 20 years ago, but not so much now. My wife likes to walk/hike, she does not like steep trails, at all, but we are still married, I believe. Actually, I did drive down to the lower trailhead after we got back to the truck, and followed that in. A much better trail, but we went to Ancient Lakes instead of Dusty. (I figured I should have kept going right instead of left.) I suspect if I get around to fishing this lake, it will probably be from the lower trail.

I'm thinking that WFF should come up with some merit badges like the Boy Scouts, and doing the upper Dusty trail should warrant on of those badges.

So is it really that tough? Or am I just a wimp? BTW, I have an Outcast SFC with backpacking straps.

Wayne

PS. That is gorgeous country there for hiking. Highly recommend.
My sons Boy Scout troop did some work on that trail several years ago...it gets enough use a troop could go there every year.

What's funny to me is the short steep trail looks snaky but every snake I've seen has been at the west end????
 

doublespey

Steelhead-a-holic
Actually found the pic and figured anybody that heard about this lake 'back in the day" would appreciate a reminder that the night fishing back in the day was legit. B-Illymac - I accidentally took that Ancient Lakes trail going in that first time, and the twilight scramble down the mountain with float tube and gear on my back was quite an adventure. Still amazed nothing was broken. :)
 

Attachments

  • dusty.jpg
    dusty.jpg
    135.5 KB · Views: 152
It’s not that bad of a walk in and out from the top. When I was a kid, I remember seeing some monster browns cruising the shore. Not sure what’s planted in there these days. Ancient used to be a great lake to fish for trout, and hike into for solitude when I was a kid. Now there’s like 70 cars at the trailhead every time I drive by.
 

bakerite

Active Member
I hike in with an inflated Fat Cat on a old style pack and am 66. There is one place where you have to step down or up a couple of feet and the last bit down to the lake is steep. It's a lake where the browns don't show up in the numbers in relation to the planting and overall seems to have too many bows for the food supply. A beautiful place and worth the trip. I caught a very large rainbow there when they planted triploids, but now they seem to run around 14 inches.
 

Starman77

Active Member
Hiking into Dusty is admittedly difficult from either direction. But, that keeps 90% of the fishermen from trying it, so it doesn't get that much fishing pressure. The scenery is spectacular, similar to Dry Falls. I'm 66 years old and still hike that steep trail, but I realize that I won't be able to keep hiking that trail forever so I've got to do it while I still can; I think I have about another 6 years or so. I wrote up an article for Northwest Fly Fishing magazine a few years ago on this lake. According to my records I've fished Dusty 32 times and average around 20 fish landed per outing. You'll usually get a lot of action at this lake, but mostly smaller fish. There are a few larger browns that eat the dace minnows, but I think the brown fry get out-competed by the rainbow fry, so not many survive to become big enough to eat the dace. You ought to fish it at least once to get your WDFW merit badge; just take your time hiking back up and take plenty of rest breaks along the way. Here's a photo of me hiking down to Dusty a few years ago (photo by Steve Maeder of Northwest Fly Fishing magazine):

IMG_0819.JPG

Rex
 

Pheel

New Member
Hiking into Dusty is admittedly difficult from either direction. But, that keeps 90% of the fishermen from trying it, so it doesn't get that much fishing pressure. The scenery is spectacular, similar to Dry Falls. I'm 66 years old and still hike that steep trail, but I realize that I won't be able to keep hiking that trail forever so I've got to do it while I still can; I think I have about another 6 years or so. I wrote up an article for Northwest Fly Fishing magazine a few years ago on this lake. According to my records I've fished Dusty 32 times and average around 20 fish landed per outing. You'll usually get a lot of action at this lake, but mostly smaller fish. There are a few larger browns that eat the dace minnows, but I think the brown fry get out-competed by the rainbow fry, so not many survive to become big enough to eat the dace. You ought to fish it at least once to get your WDFW merit badge; just take your time hiking back up and take plenty of rest breaks along the way. Here's a photo of me hiking down to Dusty a few years ago (photo by Steve Maeder of Northwest Fly Fishing magazine):

View attachment 273546

Rex
I came across your article two years ago and made three treks down the short side. Your article was spot on and saved many hours of kicking aimlessly around the lake. I didn't make it there last Spring due to the ban on fishing but am planning on returning this Spring - I hope to see you out there!
 

BobA

oh yeah!
I made the mistake of carrying a Water Master plus all my other gear down to Dusty about 11 years ago. Almost had a heart attack coming back up to the parking area. Thankfully I had a buddy who came down half way and helped me get everything up. Fishing was spotty and okay. But the local poachers were active and left with stringers when I was going down to the lake. Not worth the challenge with pontoons or heavy gear.
 

Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info

Latest posts

Top