Some final thoughts on Chopaka

Irafly

Indi "Ira" Jones
#16
Been years since I fished it. Heck it is almost as quick to make it to the Kamloops area. I loved it every time I've fished it with great memories each time. I'll never forget rounding a corner on that road to basically come side by side with a cougar (four legged, with fur... oh who the heck am I kidding, someone is going to make a joke about it) on the drivers side of my truck with my window rolled down. At the place in the road the beast couldn't drop down the grade and it could run to the other side because my truck was in the way so it just ran along side me as I drove for about 50 or more yards. Absolutely stunning. That was mid June and the lake was bitter cold that year, but I found fish consistently out in the middle with mids deep.

Iveoflone, I hope that other lake you fished where you lost count of large fish isn't the one you mentioned to me. If so, it busted on me, found fish but they were all pretty much the smallest fish I've found there. Rod and I would find schools and as long as we could stay on them trolling, we could usually pick them up in 20 plus feet of water. We moved onto another lake that panned out much better for us, but no 20" fish.

Great post!
 

Roper

Idiot Savant
#17
Chopaka is one of the first lakes that I fly-fished about 30 years ago. Friends of mine talked me into buying their hand me down float tube (yes, the round ones) and fly rod. We fished the famous Chopaka emerger pattern and smoked those 14-16 inch footballs. What a blast! Over the years I drove every year (even in a Mazda 626 turbo) to make it a pilgrimage of sorts. Each year the experience got worse. Crowds, few fish, those caught fought little. I quit going up until I bought our property in Oroville. The last two years I made a solo birthday trip the second week in October. 2010 was stellar, 2011 was so-so. This year sucked, except for the great company and laughter.

Like Ive, I will find another Mecca, and begin a new pilgrimage.
 

IveofIone

Active Member
#18
Ira, it's the same lake we talked about. Not everyone was catching fish, one guy was there in a float tube for two days and never landed a fish! Steve and I on the other hand were having some of our best fishing with the largest fish coming on dry flies! Go figure. PM me if you want to divulge where the fishing panned out better, it's always good to have a backup plan.
 

dbk

Active Member
#19
As Ive said, there are probably many other waters that offer a similiar experience to Chopaka, if not better- if better relates to size and quantity of fish, crowd size/pressure, etc... Living 45 minutes from the lake I am not sure if I would make a long trip each year to fish the lake. That being said, being so close, I have been out a few times this year in "non peak" times and had amazing fishing (especially with dries) with few other people around. I only started fishing it within the last two years, so I cannot compare it now to what it used to be in the past. It may not be what it once was, but its still a lake I would recommend to others. The damsel hatches this year were epic and so were the dry fly opportunities on that hatch.
 
#20
So essentially my message is this: Find your own Chopaka. There are so many good lakes in Washington that are underfished and have good sized fish and almost no pressure. They are a pleasure to visit and some times the fishing is mind bogglingly good. Find these places and enjoy them and for christ sakes don't blab about them on the internet. Treat a good friend or two to them when possible and hopefully they will still be good the next time you return. If Chopaka somehow fulfills your need for an adventurous drive or is your gold standard for quality fishing you need to raise your sights. Chopaka will always be the same-a rough dusty road with hordes at the end fishing for average fish that have seen every type of fly known to man. Some years will be outstanding, some poor, some average , sometimes winter kill. But always the crowds. You can do better.

Ive
This.

The part about there being so many good and underfished lakes in Washington is the real elephant in the room. And I don't mind there being a few Chopaka's around that serve to corral the majority of the crowds. You and I can enjoy the benefit of that while fishing the remaining 99% out there. I probably live near the majority of us and still have more great stillwater fishing in the immediate area than I can get to (8 come to mind right off that I'm dying to visit this year and haven't had time to touch...all prime, lightly to unfished and in my own back yard). Add to that all the opportunity in the streams and salt around here, and the issue becomes one of narrowing the choices for a given weekend. With so much lake action in every direction, if I hit the road it's usually to pursue good moving water or the types of fishing we otherwise don't have around here.

Also like dbk's thoughts. Same could be said for the one I visit most often (shhhh:D)
 

Rick Todd

Active Member
#21
My only thought on the road is that it is no fun to run into a fully loaded loggng truck comiing down at you! This happened on the way up on Friday and I had my raft on a trailer so backing down the road was a trick. The logging truck drriver was mad at me and let me know it! Otherwise, fun to see Roper, Scott, Steve and Ive and the road was actually in better shape than I've seen in the past. Rick