Question Regarding Lake Washington

#1
Next weekend I get to take my boat up to Lake Washington to particpate in a Boston Whaler Rendezvous. One of the planned events is a Saturday morning Fishing tournament. I've never fished any lakes around here, let alone Lake Washington. I don't have a clue of what patterns to tie for the event. I understand the lake has Largemouth, Smallmouth, Cutthroat and Rainbows as well as a kuka-pile of perch. I figure a #4 Black Wooley Bugger should be good anywhere, lake, stream or salt. Any ideas on what patterns I need to tie for this event? Which species should I target? Any advice on tactics? What sort of baitfish are prevalent in the Lake? I can flat&*% tie, so any input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 
#2
If you just want to catch lots of fish, I would reccomend going for the perch in the lake. Now is about prime time in the shallows, and I've done well on small (size 8-12) white or yellow woolly buggers, and similar small streamers. Keep it small, or you won't catch a thing. I've never had any luck on trout or Largemouths in Lake Washington, i think the big cutts are troller's game. However, the smallies are a lot of fun. I've never tried flyfishing for them, but I've caught and released smallmouths up to 4 pounds here on small spinners, so sixe 4-8 streamers would probably be good. Hope this helps, and good luck!
Jon
 
#3
Jon,

Thanks for the quick response. I truly appreciate it.

I'd love to hit the smallies but will be happy with the fish-de-jour; I think the categories are first, largest and most (all C&R...I guess its a Liar's tournament :) ) I'll tie a few #8 & #12 Yellow (Chartreuse actually) Wooley Buggers in the morning based upon your recommendation. I assume weighted? Have you tried Clousers or Deceivers as a streamer pattern there? I've never been on Lake Washington so this will be a new experience for me. You mentioned your success in the shallows...I envision the lake to have many docks and heavy surrounding population. What should I look for in the way of shallows besides near-to-shore and obvious deadfalls for structure? Are there any areas with weed beds, cattails etc. or should I just concentrate on the docks? Don't know what the bottom contour looks like; are drop-offs productive (e.g. rapid drop from something like 5 to 30ft?) Should I pay attention to the depth finder or just stick to the shallows?

Next question: 5, 6, 7 or 8 weight? I'm thinking the 6 wt with a shooting head system; floating, intermediate and fast sinking heads for flexibility. Your thoughts?

Greg
 
#4
Well, regarding habitat, the best place for perch in the early fall and summer are the shallow, submerged weedbeads. I'm not sure what it is, maybe milfoil, but there is a fair amount of it around. One of my favorite shallow perch areas is the large bay just north of the Seward Park peninsula. Later in the fall the fish go a lot deeper, and probably out of reach of a fly rod. The docks, and obviously rokcy areas are where I have had the best success on smallmouhts, but they seem to be adaptable, because I have caught over weeds while fishing for perch and in water deeper than 30 feet. But rocks definitely seem to be the hottest place to try. About the depth-finder, I don't know- I usually fish Lake Washington from shore or from a pram.
I think that for lines, a 5-7 weight would be good for smallies, you need some backbone to throw the heavy flies, and for perch as low as you can go line wise. I like a full sink for smallies in water deeper than about 10 feet, but in the real shallow water a sink-tip works well. For perch, a sink-tip will suffice- they hang around right on the top of the weedbeads, usually 4-10 feet down. If you want to try perch later this fall, you will certainly need a full sink, to ply the depths.
 
#5
Jon,

Very useful info and advice; thank you. You'll be honored during a short ceremony aboard my boat upon landing my first fish. :) Will let you know the final results. Thanks again.
 
#6
Jon,

First AND largest! 15.75" Smallmouth taken off the submerged forest area off Manitou. Thought I'd start with a baitfish imitation and started throwing a 2.5" White/Olive Deceiver. Nailed it on the 3rd cast. Nada after that...must have been the Villiage Idiot.

#8 Yellow WoolyBugger resulted in 3 Perch for my wife who came in 2nd for most...5 took most. Big kudo for her as she only started flyfishing last year.

Thanks again for your advice and suggestions.
 
#7
Congratulations on the Smallmouth- that is one heck of a fish! Most smallies I catch are only 6-12 inches in Washington, but I've seen huge ones in there. I'm glad it went well for you. Tight Lines!
Jon
 

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