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Fishing / Hiking in the Cascades
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Keith Bassett

Locale: Pacific NW
Fishing / Hiking in the Cascades on 06/19/2012 10:25:42 MDT Print View

I am taking my 8 year old son fishing this weekend, and wanted to know if anyone has suggestions for lakes that are open this early in the season.

We were shooting for snow lake, which is a short and far too crowded hike, but evidently good fishing.

However... A friend with a cabin up there just let me know that the lakes have been too cold for the fish to be moving around yet. I don't mind hiking in the snow, and Alex digs it, but no fish = no happiness. :)

So suggestions are welcome! I can always fall back on a fishing only excursion to Easton Lake or Easton ponds, but I love the chance to hike with the boy.


Edit: The Olympics are viable too, though I live at the base of the cascades.

Edit 2: Sadly, my daughter is 11. My son is 8. Slip of the typing fingers there.

Edited by keith_bassett on 06/25/2012 12:47:39 MDT.

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Re: Fishing / Hiking in the Cascades on 06/19/2012 11:36:21 MDT Print View


I believe that Snow Lake is still frozen over. I would head further east to Waptus River and Lake which is currently melted out. Also, you may look into Cooper Lake, which is drive in, but you could also hike to it from the same trailhead as Waptus. Waptus is a tricky lake to fish, but they have a wide range of species. The river also contains trout.

Eightmile Lake (which requires a permit to camp check with the ranger station) is open and is a 3.2 mile hike one way. It contains Rainbow and I believe is one of the few alpine lakes close by that contains Mackinaw (lake trout).

You might also check Talapus. It is a relatively easy hike and can get crowded on the weekends, but most of those easy to reach lakes off of I-90 contain fish.

Lake Dorothy (US-2), West Fork Foss to Trout Lake (US-2), and Goat Lake (Mountain Loop Highway) should have snow free access and should have some fishing prospects. Bear in mind water temp can make a difference as to how successful you can be when fishing these alpine lakes.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Fishing / Hiking in the Cascades on 06/19/2012 12:07:03 MDT Print View

Just a warning on Lake Dorothy: If you have bad knees, stay away. The trail has been "reconstructed" into enormous steps. My 11-year-old grandson waltzed through just fine, but the trip back down over those horrendous steps came close to permanently ruining my knees! I would not recommend this trail for younger children, either--they'll have to turn around and crawl backwards down nearly every one of those ##!!** steps!

If you do go up there, go on about a mile or so beyond Dorothy to Bear and Deer Lakes which are a bit less heavily fished.

Next time I go up to there I'm going via the Taylor River to Snoqualmie Lake (the fourth in the group). It's longer, but less crowded and, I'm told, no gargantuan steps!

Pete Lake, about five miles up the Cooper River, is another place to go.

Re the permits for Eightmile, check online. It's the same system used for the Enchantments (although the demand for Eightmile is far, far less--you should have no trouble scoring a permit). You can't take your dog there, though.

Edited by hikinggranny on 06/19/2012 12:11:34 MDT.

Keith Bassett

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Re: Fishing / Hiking in the Cascades on 06/19/2012 12:12:07 MDT Print View

Excellent suggestions!

We have hiked up to islands, past talapus a couple of times together. The last trip report for olallie has pics of the lake snowed in, so I didn't consider talapus. That is an easy day hike to fish.

Eightmile looks nice, as does Dorothy. Waptus looks like the bridge washed out and the 2.5 foot deep ford is probably too much for Al, but is a place to try later this summer.

Goat Lake looks awesome. I am going to float Goat or Pete or Dorothy as destinations to my buddy who is hiking with us. They look perfect for the boy.

This is the right way to celebrate school finishing!

Any other suggestions from folks will be heard though, as this is the beginning of Dad/Son hiking this summer rather than the end. :)

Edit: Thanks for the hint about the knees at Dorothy. My knees are still doing ok, but that is good to know. Pete sounds promising too, and on the dry side of the mts.

Edited by keith_bassett on 06/19/2012 12:23:18 MDT.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Fishing / Hiking in the Cascades on 06/19/2012 12:23:54 MDT Print View

Keith, Marc gave some good options and here are some more:

A litter further east-
Manastash Lake- easy 3.5 mile hike in, use spinning gear if you are not bringing floating gear. There is a smaller lake half way in that also has fish (one of the many lakes named "lost lake"). You will have to put up with the occasional motorcycle

Even further east (but good this time of year):
Dusty Lake- good, easy hike
Ancient Lakes (Dusty is one of them)

I would also check out the reports on Washington Flyfishing- excellent resource for this area.

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: Re: Fishing / Hiking in the Cascades on 06/19/2012 12:55:10 MDT Print View


I did Pete Lake early in the summer on a raft and got skunked in that lake. Nothing was rising and lures near the bottom didn't yield even a nibble. You can find some decent browns in the upper section of the Cooper River (from Cooper lake to Pete). Also I think that the drive to the trail head and trail may still be under snow, you might want to call the ranger station. If you hit Pete, more secluded camps lie on the far side of the lake, I highly suggest heading there for more privacy as it gets crowded at the main camp.

The bridge to Waptus has been out for years. A recent report indicates that the horse ford is not bad to cross right now, but it will be cold. You can avoid crossing the river all together and instead camp at Quick Creek camp on the south side of Waptus. Shore fishing can be tough, but if you can find a spot near the outlet to Waptus River, you can find some success from shore.

When Pollalie Ridge melts out, Diamond Lake gets stocked regularly, and the trail is a little less popular because it is mostly uphill. 4.5 miles I believe.

Remember that the alpine fishery in Washington is a fishery of discovery. Basically, head for the blue on your map and drop a line to see if anything bites. You can find some good lure/fly suggestions on the Trailblazer/hi-lakers forum.

Keith Bassett

Locale: Pacific NW
Lena Lake? on 06/19/2012 14:09:02 MDT Print View

Anyone tried Lena Lake out in the Olympics?

It sounds like the "Valley of the Silent Men" is just a bit past it, and a place to camp. But then we could peel back down to the lake to fish.

Washington Fly Fishing had a couple of threads with people saying they enjoyed it.

After seeing Marc's note on Pete, I did some digging on the internet and it looks like he was not alone in getting skunked. As my first goal is to have the boy catch at least a couple of fish, that means I am re-factoring. :)

Thanks for the hi-lakers and Wa Fly Fishing suggestions. I am digging their sites.


Curt Peterson
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Fishing / Hiking in the Cascades on 06/19/2012 17:09:49 MDT Print View

Tough time of the year right now. There were fish rising at Dusty a month or so ago, but access is pretty rotten if you're not floating. Lots of brush on the banks.

We were up the Middle Fork last weekend. One of us got a little guy up river, but all the rain has the rivers high. Even the low alpine lakes are probably frozen or snowy trail to get into. Not sure about your 11 year old, but my 10 year old isn't a fan of postholing :)

Eastern slope stuff should be better. Maybe the Teanaway? Ingalls Creek should be good. Something near Cle Elum maybe? Something between Yakima and White Pass down low?

Good luck! If you get a chance to report back please do. I've got my little guy on 3 trips this year so far and he's eager for more!

Keith Bassett

Locale: Pacific NW
Goat Lake - Trip Report on 06/25/2012 13:50:56 MDT Print View

This is long, so bear with me.

We went to Goat Lake, which is only 5.5 miles in with around 500 feet of altitude change.

I posted that my son was 11 earlier. That was a slip - my son is 8, and after this weekend is officially a trouper.

My son got a huge upgrade this trip, with a sub 2 lb down bag that I found at the REI basement for $20. It was dirty and had to be washed and patched, but is now a very nice bag. Between that and just generally packing lighter, all of his extra dry clothes and his pad(my overweight exped synmat 7)plus his book and fishing gear weighed just under 10 lbs.

We arrived at the trail-head at about 9 am, to light rain and a full lot. When we checked the log we were surprised to see that there were 20 people overnighting who had already signed in. However one of the groups was ten boy scouts who had signed in just hanging out and prepping. We quietly decided that the hike up was a race to beat them to the best spots.

When we arrived at the lake, to our chagrin all of the designated areas were already being staked out by teenage scouts who had set out early and who had thrown one article of theirs into each site to claim them. The five or six obvious areas were already taken up.

So we decided to go 500 feet from the other sites and semi stealth camp on the top of a pretty steep hill. Evidently someone else had previously had that idea and we found one relatively flat spot to throw up our sleeping tarp, and another to put up a tarp to cook and eat under.

We gulped down some food, and went to fish. Nothing was rising, and the lake was perfectly still. Goat Lake is beautiful, and looks just like a miniature Lake Louise with perfect emerald green water and a round end with a glacier like deposit of ice and snow. I know there are fish there, because WTA.Org had pics but we saw nothing and didn't even get a bite.

After a while, the lightning and thunder started. We kept fishing under my umbrella for a while, but when the hail started we decided to go back to base camp. As we were with A, we decided to have fun yelling "Troll!" every time the thunder rolled through.

When we arrived back at to our tarp, we were shocked to see 23 tents, clustered at car camping distances from each other at the bottom of the hill. Plus seeing new hammocks and tents at sites along the lake on our way back to camp.

I have NEVER seen a busier location, and we were thankful for the major distance between us and the loud folks below.

We ate, then did some more fishing, got rained on some more, then ate and slept.

When we got out of our warm bags to have breakfast at 0830, there were only two of the 23 tents still down there. I think some of them even bugged out during the night.

The weather was bad and it was in the 30s that night, but it was unbelievable that everyone had left so early.

It could have been a disastrous weekend, but clothes that stay warm even when wet and nice light packs made it a fun walk up and back even though it rained.

We caught nothing, froze, and had a heck of a good time.

But I will never go back to Goat Lake on a weekend, it was ridiculously busy.


Edit: The lower elliot trail was a mudbog, the upper was fine. Either way - there is no snow and an easy hike.

Goat Lake W/ Clouds Rolling In

Taut Tarp 10x15

Sleeping In

Emerald Water

Edited by keith_bassett on 06/25/2012 15:51:12 MDT.