Merrill Lake near St. Helens

I have wanted to fish for browns in Merrill Lake but understand that there is a gate and that even if it is open there might be some distance between where you park and the lake. I use a 8ft kickboat and can't carry it very far. Please provide some details on fishing Merrill Lake. Also provide recommendations for flies.




Active Member
If the gate is open you can drive right down to the water. There is a boat launch, picnic area, etc. I believe gate is still open until the end of October, but the state never found a host for the campground this year and I heard that some people were not policing themselves very well.....they may have closed the gate already as a result.
You might want to make a call to WDFW. If the gate is closed you can park and hike down to the lake via a pretty good trail - it is not very far, easy with a float tube, although a big pontoon boat might be a struggle.

As far as fishing goes typical lake stuff has worked for me....Woolly Buggers, Careys, etc. on full sinking line, or possibly some dry fly action on caddis or mayfly patterns. I haven't seen much chironomid activity but I would guess they are in the lake. Earlier in the year Alder flies and Hexagenas are prevalent. You might want to look through some of the old reports on to get more ideas.
I also believe that Merril has a good fall of flying ants that gets the browns' attention but good. That should be going on right about now, no?
Well, I fished Merrill Lake on 10/2/01. The gate was closed so I just walked down to the lake with my float tube. I was the only one there. The lake is very low and it is difficult getting in and out because of the mud. Early there was a midge hatch. They were about size 28. Since I don't tie anything that small, I just tried some emergers, wooly buggers, prince nymph, etc. I never had a strike.

I then tried the North Fork of the Lewis River, in the wild trout area. It was beautiful and quiet. Again I was the only fisherman. No luck there either.


Latest posts