Late Fall in Walla Walla


Active Member
Having moved from the Okanogan area this past July to Walla Walla, I have missed fishing the many great stillwaters in that area that once were so close to home for me. With the run of great weather we have been having, I finally made it out to Big Four Lake, which is really more of a large pond, and the only fly fishing only "stillwater" within an hour of where I now live. Fishing exclusively from shore, and pretty much have the place to myself over a span of three different trips over the course of this past week, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the rainbows this lake produced. There were significant numbers of fish in the 7-9" class that were caught, as well as 10-12" and 13-15".. all healthy and in good condition. The highlight though was catching good numbers of fish at 16" with one trout that was an honest 18" (hooked a few others that appeared to be this size but failed to land them). I am not sure of the stocking program on this lake or the mortality rate due to winterkill, but it was encouraging to find such quality in respect to numbers and size of the fish in this lake.

The fishing itself was pretty simple and the water was easy to "read"... the majority of the fish were in the deeper water during the early part of the day, with the most active of those fish holding just off the weedlines where the lake bottom drops... a few were caught out in the "open water" at 10-12', but the best fishing early came along the shelf just off the weedlines in 6-8ft of water. There were a few fish tight to shore and holding in the "pockets" of open water between the heavy vegetation in the first narrow "arm" of this lake (which resembles a "U" turned on its side to the right). The second arm was a shallow flat with less vegetation that transitioned from about 5-6ft in depth to about 2ft on the far end. During the early part of the day, there were a few fish cruising in an obvious search for food... as the day the progressed and the sun warmed the water, more fish would move in to this arm and typically, around noon or so until about 2pm, this section produced some silly good fishing. Armed with a black/red balance leech (thanks Ira!) and a blood worm fished under an indicator a foot or so off the bottom, I was able to entice each day 20 or so trout over a 3-4 hour period to eat my fly on each of my three trips... Simple fishing and fun just to be out again on a lake watching the indicator go down..

Ben Swaner

Active Member
Glad you made it out to Big Four. From what Ive been hearing WDFW is on returning big four back to the floodplain and altering several of the other articical ponds along the Tucannon. Good news is one of the existing lakes will become a fly fishing only lake.

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