Jim, I'm old too, but not THAT old - and certainly not as old as YOU! <just kidding, of course!>
A couple guys I know collect the old Ben Parris fishing guides and have graciously given me copies of the sections covering the lakes up on the tree farm knowing of my interest in them. Back then, guides like those were quite open about telling folks how to get to fishing locations. I guess when it took all day to get somewhere, there wasn't much danger of it being overrun.
Back in the early 1970s, I could literally fill up my truck's gas tank by rummaging through my furniture cushions and clothes pockets for loose change. I vividly remember buying gas at times with a handful of coins.
That all changed during the first Arab oil embargo (in 1974 I think), when the price zoomed up as supplies fell. I worked at a gas station my last year in college and remember the lines of cars waiting for gas and how pissed the drivers were when we ran out and had to close in the middle of the day. One of my coworkers was assaulted by a driver and we had to separate them while the owner called the police. I soon found a different job.
Certainly all of the lakes are fishable and worthwhile, including Black. You're not going to get stocker triploids, but you will get some peace and quite.
Some like Black seem to be 100% rainbows, others lakes are 100% cutthroat, and other various other mixes, including Brook, RB, and CT in the same lake. On Klaus I've caught a cutthroat, perch, and large-mouth bass all on the same pattern. As the summer warms up, deeper lakes like Calligan are going to be good too. Exploring is half the fun.
As a matter of fact, here's my daughter with a nice Black Lake Rainbow. That smile alone makes Hancock worth it for me.
Anybody know how to find out which of these lakes are planted and when? One of my favorite lakes on the Hancock property began fishing poorly a couple years ago. I contacted WDFW and was told they no longer plant them and it's up to the property owner. I contacted Hancock by email and they were useless.
This is just my opinion, but I assume that since Hancock Forest Management is in the business of forest products, they wouldn't be spending any money on fish plants if they had to pay for it themselves. They do make money off permits, but one forest fire would wipe that out for the next 20 years. So I don't even think they are all that keen on letting people in anyways, and permits are more public relations than profit for them. I also don't think WDFW is keen on stocking "private" land.
I emailed my Hancock contact with the stocking question - I'll post any reply unless they request otherwise.
From what I've seen, some lakes have good natural capacity for reproduction. Other lakes, perhaps less or maybe even none. So I assume that every fish there is precious, and practice careful C&R.
I'd say that unless you are used to dragging your pontoon boat for more than a mile, it would be too far. I've caught bass there, but I wouldn't say it was a great bass lake - more of a pleasant surprise to catch one. The one time I did actively target bass of course I didn't catch any.
The Hancock Snoqualmie Tree Farm is roughly 100,000 acres and is completely gated to prohibit random public access. Permit holders are given a key, a window decal and a map that allows them access to a huge maze of logging roads through the two locked gates at Spur Ten.
HRM has it's own security staff and additionally contracts with WDFW so the area is regularly patrolled and HRM and state regs are strictly enforced. Shooting is permitted only during statewide hunting seasons. No target shooting is allowed.
The farm is indeed an active logging operation, so those activites take precedence over any other use. In general, the roads are in much better shape than county or USFS roads. 4wd is not required but a pickup or high-clearance van makes the best sense.