Road to Chopaka

triploidjunkie

Active Member
Jeez! It is hard to believe that so many people put up with the crowds and poor access just to reach Chopaka. I just don't understand the fascination with that place. There are over 8,000 lakes in Washington and you can't do any better than Chopaka? There are better lakes with bigger fish that are much easier to reach and less crowded. It seems like every newbie fly fisher has to earn his spurs by going up there whereas some of us old salts that were there 40 years ago wouldn't dream of going back and dealing with today's clusterf%#k.

Find your own Curtis Creek.
I'm right there with you, Ive. I went up back in the late nineties, early 2000's. It was okay, but I wasn't even impressed then. I only went because I saw a write up by John Gierach in a magazine. Like you said, there's way better lakes you have to literally drive by to get there. I think of it as our sacrificial lamb. I was talking to some folks the other day that tried to go up. They made it, but every campsite was overflowing. They claimed that fly clubs are going up there and setting up shop, and just swapping trailer spots after 14 days. I can't verify, as I'd never get within five miles of the place.
 
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BDD

Active Member
I'm glad there are places like the Cowlitz, RF, and Chopaka to draw a lot of anglers, thereby keeping other places less crowded. As much as I stillwater fish in Okanogan County, I have never made the trip to Chopaka. After hearing all the news from there, I probably never will at this point. There are just too many other lakes to fish with more solitude.
 

Salmo_g

Premium
Just drove down Chopaka grade Monday morning. No issues. Can't say the same about the drive up last Thursday. Even the newly graded road is rough, and my trailer bounced enough to break and throw off one of the rachet straps that hold my pram on the trailer. First time that ever happened.

I guess people consider Chopaka a shit show because the campground is usually filled to capacity from opening day in April through Labor Day, with some slack time during the hottest part of the summer.

I fished Chopaka for the first time in 1972. The campground was crowded then, just about like it is today. The shit show is all about obtaining a camp site from my perspective. Once I'm on the lake, I have never, repeat, never, had any problem finding a place to fish. In that context, I think the campground is properly sized. That is, the available camping prevents the lake from becoming over-crowded to the point of reducing the quality of the fishing experience. While I appreciate solitude, I don't require it.

While there are other central WA lakes that offer good quality fishing, I don't personally know of any others that offer quality fishing in a setting in the mountains with such stunningly beautiful scenery. I'm certainly open to PMs of lakes that provide high quality fishing AND do it in an environment of stunningly beautiful scenery. Members here will vouch that I'm no kiss-and-tell fisherman.

As for the road issue, as long as it is public, or the state has a public easement, and I'm a public person, I'll probably drive on it, always yielding right-of-way to downhill traffic, of course.
 

sroffe

Active Member
While there are other central WA lakes that offer good quality fishing, I don't personally know of any others that offer quality fishing in a setting in the mountains with such stunningly beautiful scenery. I'm certainly open to PMs of lakes that provide high quality fishing AND do it in an environment of stunningly beautiful scenery. Members here will vouch that I'm no kiss-and-tell fisherman.
I kind of agree with Salmo_g on this. I really appreciate the beauty up there. When camping, kind of get a kick of hearing the cattle stampede on the other side of the lake, waking me up in the morning. However, that said, I have never fished it until the last part of June, or in the fall.
 

BDD

Active Member
Just drove down Chopaka grade Monday morning. No issues. Can't say the same about the drive up last Thursday. Even the newly graded road is rough, and my trailer bounced enough to break and throw off one of the rachet straps that hold my pram on the trailer. First time that ever happened.

I guess people consider Chopaka a shit show because the campground is usually filled to capacity from opening day in April through Labor Day, with some slack time during the hottest part of the summer.

I fished Chopaka for the first time in 1972. The campground was crowded then, just about like it is today. The shit show is all about obtaining a camp site from my perspective. Once I'm on the lake, I have never, repeat, never, had any problem finding a place to fish. In that context, I think the campground is properly sized. That is, the available camping prevents the lake from becoming over-crowded to the point of reducing the quality of the fishing experience. While I appreciate solitude, I don't require it.

While there are other central WA lakes that offer good quality fishing, I don't personally know of any others that offer quality fishing in a setting in the mountains with such stunningly beautiful scenery. I'm certainly open to PMs of lakes that provide high quality fishing AND do it in an environment of stunningly beautiful scenery. Members here will vouch that I'm no kiss-and-tell fisherman.

As for the road issue, as long as it is public, or the state has a public easement, and I'm a public person, I'll probably drive on it, always yielding right-of-way to downhill traffic, of course.
Thanks for a different perspective. With the way Chopaka access (the steep grade, long, bumpy road, killer logging trucks, private land, and just plain getting lost) was being described, it was as if folks were purposely trying to keep others out of there using a different method than the tried and true list of reasons (tweakers, bears, wolves, ticks, rattlesnakes, etc.).
 

Big Tuna

Member
Just drove down Chopaka grade Monday morning. No issues. Can't say the same about the drive up last Thursday. Even the newly graded road is rough, and my trailer bounced enough to break and throw off one of the rachet straps that hold my pram on the trailer. First time that ever happened.

I guess people consider Chopaka a shit show because the campground is usually filled to capacity from opening day in April through Labor Day, with some slack time during the hottest part of the summer.

I fished Chopaka for the first time in 1972. The campground was crowded then, just about like it is today. The shit show is all about obtaining a camp site from my perspective. Once I'm on the lake, I have never, repeat, never, had any problem finding a place to fish. In that context, I think the campground is properly sized. That is, the available camping prevents the lake from becoming over-crowded to the point of reducing the quality of the fishing experience. While I appreciate solitude, I don't require it.

While there are other central WA lakes that offer good quality fishing, I don't personally know of any others that offer quality fishing in a setting in the mountains with such stunningly beautiful scenery. I'm certainly open to PMs of lakes that provide high quality fishing AND do it in an environment of stunningly beautiful scenery. Members here will vouch that I'm no kiss-and-tell fisherman.

As for the road issue, as long as it is public, or the state has a public easement, and I'm a public person, I'll probably drive on it, always yielding right-of-way to downhill traffic, of course.
Totally agree.
 

Big Rob

Active Member
Just got back. Went up the back side, and came down the old grade. Yeah, it was busy up there, but when we rolled in Thurs evening, there were 4-5 sites open. We had our choice. Nights were chilly, so take firewood. What looked to be a cinnamon bear was roaming around. Friday am it was across the lake, and Saturday it was on the hillside above the north campgrounds. Fishing was solid on Fri....windy af on sat.
 

Old Man

A very Old Man
I wanted to go there once but that drive up for me would be a reason not to go. Heights scare the shit out of me. That and spending 36 hours in a piston driven A/P kind of cured me of not going places that would scare me. Never flew in a jet or do I want to.
 

Ron McNeal

FREE BUCKHEAD!! NOW.
Just drove down Chopaka grade Monday morning. No issues. Can't say the same about the drive up last Thursday. Even the newly graded road is rough, and my trailer bounced enough to break and throw off one of the rachet straps that hold my pram on the trailer. First time that ever happened.

I guess people consider Chopaka a shit show because the campground is usually filled to capacity from opening day in April through Labor Day, with some slack time during the hottest part of the summer.

I fished Chopaka for the first time in 1972. The campground was crowded then, just about like it is today. The shit show is all about obtaining a camp site from my perspective. Once I'm on the lake, I have never, repeat, never, had any problem finding a place to fish. In that context, I think the campground is properly sized. That is, the available camping prevents the lake from becoming over-crowded to the point of reducing the quality of the fishing experience. While I appreciate solitude, I don't require it.

While there are other central WA lakes that offer good quality fishing, I don't personally know of any others that offer quality fishing in a setting in the mountains with such stunningly beautiful scenery. I'm certainly open to PMs of lakes that provide high quality fishing AND do it in an environment of stunningly beautiful scenery. Members here will vouch that I'm no kiss-and-tell fisherman.

As for the road issue, as long as it is public, or the state has a public easement, and I'm a public person, I'll probably drive on it, always yielding right-of-way to downhill traffic, of course.
, ,, and !!
 

Earl bentley

Active Member
Just got back. Went up the back side, and came down the old grade. Yeah, it was busy up there, but when we rolled in Thurs evening, there were 4-5 sites open. We had our choice. Nights were chilly, so take firewood. What looked to be a cinnamon bear was roaming around. Friday am it was across the lake, and Saturday it was on the hillside above the north campgrounds. Fishing was solid on Fri....windy af on sat.
We were there just before you and we camped in the back of the lake we seen bear sign back there but never seen a bear we did have a small buck come right into our camp, it was very curious about our little dog. Not scared all all.
 
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McFly

McFly
I was planning to go to Chopaka at the end of September, however, the online sites for DNR and BLM lands are still showing the area is closed due to fire danger. Anyone have info on how long this is anticipated to last?
 

Jim Travers

Active Member
crap. add another 30 minutes to 6 hours - now I'll be drunk by the time I roll into the campground....

You should always be drunk before headin' in to the campground. It is customary. That is why they cease to pave these roads prior to the campgrounds. It becomes acceptable and expected to be drunk when headin' in off pavement.
 

Guy Gregory

Active Member
I was planning to go to Chopaka at the end of September, however, the online sites for DNR and BLM lands are still showing the area is closed due to fire danger. Anyone have info on how long this is anticipated to last?
Winter, or the precipitation equivalent thereof.
 

dp

~El Pescador
from the intel I got last week for DNR, they do not plan to reopen till October. They said they closed for 3 months effective July 13.
I was planning to be there next week - now those plans are scrapped.
 

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