Alpine Lakes

what are some nice and productive high altitude lakes that are preferably hike in (not absolutly necessary though) with a place to camp nearby for the summer. i had my eye on some lakes but they require a wilderness use permit so im trying to find other lakes that dont first. im a beginner so i dont know what lakes are productive and whatnot but i love being at higher altitudes and i wouldnt mind catching a few fish while im at it.


dead in the water
high alt. lakes

i love people at higher altitudes
Hmmmmm, not sure I'll be camping with you.

But I would get "Washington's Central Cascades Fishing Guide" by Dave Shorett (there is also one for the OP). You'll get plenty of good suggestions. Maybe a bit far from Richland though. I guess it depends on how much you like driving.
high alt. lakes

sorry, it was late at night and i was tired, i meant to write being not people. i dont mind driving there since it will probably only be one time next year. do you know where i could get this book from?
high alt. lakes

Why on earth would you object to visiting lakes that require a wilderness use permit? They're only the cleanest, most beautiful, least abused waters to be found in America's high country. They have that status because sometimes government gets it right.
high alt. lakes

well i dont object, in fact i probably will try to go to them, but i want to make sure they are productive first. it seems like it might be alot of work for the first trip though and i want to know what other lakes there are.

Chad Lewis

NEVER wonder what to do with your free time
high alt. lakes

I asked a similiar question not too long ago. People do seem to be a little quiet about their favorite alpine lakes. It was pointed out that these lakes are kind of delicate ecosystems and heavy pressure could easily ruin them. I suppose there could be some truth to that.

A good resource for lakes that hold fish is the WDFW. Give them a call and they'll tell you what lakes have been stocked recently and what will be stocked in the future.

BTW, I hear Anderson Lake can be quite good ;)
high alt. lakes

the game department doesnt seem very responsive by email to help, they totally disregarded that question by email and barely respond when i ask about specific lakes. i guess thats bound to happen when you are trying to communicate with the government.
high alt. lakes

You won't find many high lakes names mentioned here because they are generally small and fragile. They simply won't support a lot of camping or fishing pressure. Overuse will ruin them. Fishermen hikers who have found good high lakes to fish are understandably reluctant to share that hard-earned information with hundreds of others.

I recommend you do what most high lake fishermen do: Check out the maps and guides. There are many. As Josh Root mentioned, one to read carefully is, "Washington's Central Cascades Fishing Guide" by Dave Shorett. Any good bookstore can get it for you. Check with the USFS and WDFW. Most of the high lakes in the Cascades have been planted with trout. Next summer explore a bit, find out for yourself which ones have good fishing. That's half the fun. Good Luck!

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
high alt. lakes

Bob's right. Nobody who's invested the time and calories to hike up to a decent mountain lake is gonna broadcast it, especially online. To do so is to risk coming back next time to find it trampled, awash in trash and fished out.

Here's some random advice.

First, if you can drive to it, by definition it won't be a 'productive' lake thanks to the hundreds or thousands of fishermen who have already been there. It doesn't matter whether it's a high altitude lake or not. If there's a public road to it, you're much more likely to find old beer cans, cigarette butts and bait containers than catching a 16" cutthroat.

Second, if you can hike to it, a lake's productivity will be in direct proportion to how long and difficult the hike is (besides biological and ecological considerations.) As a rule of thumb, the longer and harder the hike, the less likely the lake will have been visited, thus the better the fishing. Offtrail bushwhacks to truly remote lakes offer the best shot at a memorable trip. But once you've found a lake like that, why would you want to publicize it on the Internet?

Get some good maps (hint: the Gazetteer is NOT a good map), like USGS 7-1/2 minute quads, GreenTrails, or the Topo! Washington state series on CD. Look for little blue spots and then use guidebooks to research out more about them.

Finally, depending on how far you intend to hike up into the hills, outdoor navigation and survival skills are a requirement, not an option. Don't go if you're not prepared and experienced enough for the difficulty level of the trip you're planning. If you get lost or injured, our excellent search and rescue teams may eventually find you (or your body), but you can count on being presented with a very substantial bill at the end of the process, especially if your trip back out required an aircraft.


Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
high alt. lakes

I recommend the upper and lower jordan lakes on the west side here. You wont get to them until june though but they are great and you usually get a fish every time you move farther around the lakes because they only see 100 or so people each year.

They are a 4-5 mile hike up there but you better be prepared to sweat because they are somewhere in the ball park of 4k+ foot gain in altitude.

I don't know why folks are so guarded of these lakes. The sheer amount of work it takes to get up there will keep most of the lazy keyboard commando's of the internet boards away.


high alt. lakes

well i dont object, in fact i probably will try to go to them, but i want to make sure they are productive first.
If you're looking for other people to do your "research" for you and then post on a public forum which lakes are productive and which aren't then I think you'll be disappointed. Why would anybody invest a substantial amount of their time, energy, and money to find a pristine wilderness setting where they can camp in a clean environment with good fishing opportunities and then tell via a public flyfishing forum where that place might be?

It never hurts to ask these questions but I wouldn't expect much in return.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
high alt. lakes

. . .The sheer amount of work it takes to get up there will keep most of the lazy keyboard commando's of the internet boards away.
True enough - to a point. Sadly it doesn't take hundreds, or even dozens, of people to wipe out a fragile lake.

As an example, a certain lake in the NF Snoqualmie drainage enjoyed a decades-long reputation of having a self-sustaining population of large resident coastal cutts. The lake is so difficult to get to that only a handful of people ever made it up there in any given year. Sadly, a party of several fishers in good condition climbed up to the lake last summer and apparently bonked every fish they caught, eating them in camp that night. Subsequent visitors found the carcasses of the previously-killed fish, no fish biting and a lake that seemed sterile.

Were there other fish there that the most recent visitors didn't find? Possibly. But since the lake isn't all that large, an hour's probing by veteran anglers was probably pretty thorough.

Could the fish killed by the earlier party have lowered the lake's critical mass of potential spawners below the minimum necessary? Only time will tell.

As a result of numerous other experiences like this, most veteran mountain lake fishers keep their mouths firmly shut.


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