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I have a friend coming in July, The guy wants to go after "Trophy size" trout, and a real Washington experience. I haven't been here very long, And to tell you the truth I have not been very interested in catching trophies, I just like to fish I dont care how big as long as I go and dont get bothered.
I suggested we hit the alpine lakes for a real Washington experience, he balked when I said the fish would most likely not be trophies. Bottom line can anyone steer me in any kind of direction? Please dont say "just get out there", believe me I have been out there plenty, just mostly on this side of the mountains. I would appreciate the help, without givin up any secrets, which I understand are precious and givin a security classification in this area.
 

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I like the suggestion for Coldwater. You get a great view of St. Helens, and the opportunity to catch some nice fish. Make sure you visit the visitors center. It's always nice to head over White Pass and fish Dog & Leech lakes. Not trophies, but you can catch some nice fish.
 

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There are enough "Pay to Fish" lakes around this area, and these will give more than a small chance to catch Trophy sized fish. I'm not too sure what you will find in July though, you'll have to ask a local Fly Shop about the details on operating seasons, heck....There will probably be someone here soon to clarify that. If your buddy has to go after some big Trout, He probably wouldn't mind paying for a "Once in a lifetime trip" anyway.
BAD:thumb
 

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I used to guide on Moccasin Lake (Methow Valley) call Mazama Fy shop or Sun Mountain lodge and they will give you the current prices. Beautiful setting and close to lodging. The lake has some giant rainbows up to 10+lbs. It also holds Browns. There can be some amazing hatches--dragon flys, midges, damsels or drag a half-back around on a sink tip--hang on.

good luck--
Mcronariver
 

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Is Moccasin Lake private? I had heard that someone from Microsoft or other outfit had bought the lake (land around it), turned it into a working ranch and private fishing lodge for him and his friends. I hope this is not the case. It sounds like a great lake to fish.
 

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Don't take this wrong but your friend sounds like a big fish snob.

Trophy fish and real Washington Experince are often two terms a serious odds in this state. In my opinion a Washington trophy fish is a 14 inch wild cutthroat caught on the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie. That fish went through hell to grow that big and may be 3-4 years old. As many people would classify a trophy fish (on the other side of the spectrum) it would be a big dumb Rocky Ford fish that by the measuring tape are a trophy but it is not nearly as an enjoyable experience.

If he is dead set and wants to catch big fish. I would suggest one of the eastside lakes (maybe even a pay lake like Blackstone) or for River/Creek fishing the Yak or Rocky Ford is a good bet.

I'm with you and would take a day in the Apline Lakes any day and leave the measuring tape at home.
 

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Lenice, Dry Falls, or one of the other quality Basin lakes would provide a nice "Washington experience" as far as representative angling goes, and trophy fish. But your problem is July. Most of the good lakes on the East Side will not be fishing very well, unless we have a very mild (cool)spring and early summer. And the pay lakes will have likely closed for the summer by then. But there are a couple exceptions. Coldwater is a good suggestion. Or you might try Merrill in the same general vicinity of the State (I think Merrill's in the Kalama drainage, Coldwater in the Cowlitz). Chopaka in the Okanogan can still fish well into early July, and can be one of the best trout lakes in the west (big fish, great hatches, though challenging fishing; some of us think that makes it even better).

I would also very highly recommend a pay fishery most may not have heard of, a place called the Double-E preserve, just north of Spokane. Kind of far from the west side, but way worth it. The lake is about sixty acres, in a beautiful forested, sub-alpine setting. The area is full of charismatic megafauna, moose, deer, elk, bear, eagles, osprey, etc. The lake is full of NATURALLY REPRODUCING native westslope cutthroat, absolutely no stocking of any kind; every fish is 100% wild. The only lake I know of it's kind. The fish run 11"- 20", most in the 13"-16" range. There are also a few rainbows and hybrids in the same size range, and the odd bull trout to 3 or 4 pounds. The fish are in beautiful shape and keyed toward the surface to a variety of mayfly, midge, damsel, and dragon hatches. The Lake is spring fed and fishes well throughout July.

The lake is open to 8-10 rods per week, weekends only. It's $235 per person (I think) for Friday eve, Sat and Sun (out by dark on Sun, no night fishing). Parties of three to six who book early can often count on having the place ot themselves. You can camp at the lake, or stay at a really nice, really cheap motel in nearby Chewela.

It books through Cascade Springs Fly Fishing in Portland. You can get details by calling the Morning Hatch fly shop in Tacoma. (I don't work for any of these people, I was just lucky enough to fish the Double-E this fall.)
 

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I think the limiting factor for finding "trohpy" trout will be the warm weather of July. If it were in the spring or fall, that would be a different story.

I know you mentioned trout, but if your friend is really after trophy sized fish, your best bet would probably be salmon. Saltwater coho and pinks can outfight just about and trout in Washington, and most are trophy sized (when compared to trout). I don't do a lot of salmon fishing in the salt, so I'm not sure if July is a good time to target them, but there are usually a few around all year long.

Summer steelheading is also another option. These are trout afterall, and average at 5 lbs or more. Many consider them to be the ultimate Washington fishing experience, which is what your after. The only problem is that they are difficult to catch, especially for a beginer, so your odds of success are not that great. Besides this your pretty much limited to the typical 12-16 inchers.
 

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Moccasin Lake stopped allowing public access around 1995, but it has been owned by the current owners since 1960. It has always been a working ranch. Also, it is closed in July due to warm surface temps. It is open in May, June, September and October. I think the daily fee is $175, and includes a shared guide. The fishing can be awesome.
 
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