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1055 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Preston
So, headed up to Chopaka tomorrow evening. Is a parking permit required for access and/or camping on the lake? I also heard this lake was on a reservation, is this correct? If so, does that mean no alcohol?:(

Also, for any who have been, what are your thoughts on taking the road out there after dusk?? Should i wait till early morning? :dunno

Hopefully it isn't too late in the year for this lake, as this is my first time out there. Any patterns i shouldn't leave home without? Hopefully they'll dial in on something like a damsel nymph or some adults.

Will report upon return. :thumb

Fly For Fun

"Trout Don't Live in Ugly Places" - Alex Higala :beer2
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No permit required, not on a Res, bring the cocktails and the whole gamit of dries, this lake should be prime right now. The higher altitude means it shouldn't be too hot for fishing. I believe its at nearly 3000 ft. the road is fine, go slow, be careful. Summer time at chopaka is a prime example of "match the hatch". figure it out and you'll do well. Probaly the best free camping in the state, hence the crowds, but have fun!!!:beer2 YT:smokin
Thanks for the help ******. Is this another lake that is worth the adventure of night-fishing for some lunkers? (kinda like nunnally, lenice, pass, etc...):smokin

Fly For Fun

"Trout Don't Live in Ugly Places" - Alex Higala
Fly, I'm also heading up there tommorrow, I am going to try to be there by early afternoon. Stop by and have a beer. I'm driving a green Tacoma, will be fishing out of a WaterSkeeter pontoon boat. Also will be doing a recon on the dam situation for all those interested.

good call kal, i prolly won't roll in till real late, driving a beige 4runner. Will be the younger brother and myself in a couple of float tubes. Will look for ya, hopefully won't be too crowded up there. :beer2

Depending on the fishing, will stick around till friday before heading south to the conconully reservoirs with a bunch of the family. Working on introducing the fly bug to the bro, couple alpine lake trips have planted the seed, could use a solid outing to get him hooked. We'll see.:D

Still wondering about that night fishing too, any lunkers that would hit something large at night?:eek

Fly For Fun

"Trout Don't Live in Ugly Places" - Alex Higala
thin black leech, mohair style, non weighted on a clear intermediate line. After dusk of course.;) YT:smokin
I wouldn't recommend driving up there in the dark, especially your first trip up there. To get to the lake, you have to turn off of the main road at the second road on your right. This can get a bit confusing to find even in the daylight. It's not dangerous - the road is fine. If you consider stuff like this an adventure, then go for it. But if it was me I'd camp on Toats Coulee or someplace & drive up to the lake in the morning.

Also, I've never done really well before 10AM on Chopaka.

The after dark bite was off last week. No one could figure out why.

Adult damsels were out in droves along with several mayfly hatches during the day as well as again in the evening.

Monday of that week, June 16 was really hot, a guy with a thermometer said the lake was 72 degrees. I thought the fish were a bit lethargic and that may have explained why. Handle your fish with care, carry a long handle net as you may need it after a too quick release. We had to spend at least 10 minutes with several fish, one on a renetting from the bottom. Swam away looking good then on his side on the bottom, long handled net another 5 minutes and this time he kept going.

My brother gave me a good tip, the fish are full of lactic acid after being caught and they just forget to breathe, what works well for him is to keep them in the net tied off to your craft. This keeps them off the bottom where they may suffocate in the mud while they are re-figuring out the breathing thing. Move them around a bit and when they are doing fine, kiss em and say goodbye

The weather has been colder since then so hopefully the lake is cooler.

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Ya, i was hoping the water temp hadn't shot up that high because of elevation and area, hopefully the cooler temps brought it down since then. Will have to definitely take the extra effort and time with them. Thanks for the report/tip and the reminder.:)

Fly For Fun

"Trout Don't Live in Ugly Places" - Alex Higala
I beg to differ...

Thin Mint, beadhead, full sink, in the dark, north end of the lake, just off the shore about 25 yards, that little cove on the north east side, fished deep.

Will Team Rugged have an October Redux this year? My birthday is the 13th and grouse will still be around...


Good things come to those who wade...
callibaetis dries (late morning through afternoon): parachute adams; grey sparkle dun; grey comparadun, sizes 16-18

callibaetis emergers(late morning through afternoon): quigly cripples; cdc emergers; etc, sizes 16-18

callibaetis nymphs (all day): PTs; birds nests; poxy-back callibatis, sizes 14-18

caenis mayflies (dusk to dark, and first light): tiny white comparaduns and sparkle duns, sizes 20-24; cluster midges (griffiths gnat in whitedubbing instead of peacock, renegades), sizes 18-20

chironomids (late evening and early morning): every kind of midge pupa and emerger you can find (the evening midge rise can be incredibly complex and challenging), sizes 16-24

caddis (late evening): x-caddis; cdc emergers; headlite caddis; parachute caddis; quigly cripples; soft hackles (for emergent pupae), sizes 16-20

Travelling sedge (dusk to dark): Tom Thumb; green stimulator; green madam-x; green chernobyl ant, size 8-10 (skate/wake on surface with short strips, ALWAYS toward shore)

adult damsel (all day, particularly afternoon): borger damsel; bucktail damsel; stalcup damsel, size 10 (mostly in blue, but have a few in green and tan)

AFTER DARK (10pm - 3am): largish, dark wooly buggers towed on floating, sink-tip, or intermediate line.

Fishing will be very good, especially in evening, but no pushover (note complexity of evening activity). Fish will not be in best shape with warmer water temps. You WILL kill fish; I'd figure AT LEAST a 10% - 20% mortality rate. If you get a really hot hand, consider packing it in for the day, and enjoy the equally excellent birding (several types of woodpecker [I saw a yellow-bellied sapsucker one year!], cedar waxwings, orioles, western tanangers, warblers, etc).

Take plenty of DEET, and stay out of the bushes during the day. The mosquitos can be incredibly bad this time of year (is the big "mosquito is just anotrher part of nature" sign still there?). They'll carry you away out there.

Only the very first part of the road is scary (though I'll bet REALLY scary in the dark), but if you've never been there, finding the way in can be a little tough, even in the day light. I don't know if I'd try it at night.
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How long does the drive to Chopaka from Seattle take?
Figure on six to seven hours depending on which route you take and how badly you want to bend the posted speed limits. I usually go over the North Cascades highway and Loup Loup Pass, just because it's a nice drive, and figure on six-and-a-half hours. That includes a coffee and/or pit stop or two.
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