Good early alpinelakes

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meandermeadows
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Good early alpinelakes

Post by meandermeadows » Sat May 21, 2016 5:51 pm

Hi everyone. I am new to this forum and somewhat new to fishing. Just like the title says, I am looking for good early lakes where the fish will be active already. I don't mind a longer or steep hike, especially if it means dealing with less people. For the most part, l am looking at day hikes though, so l would say 15-20 miles round trip would be about the max. Areas I am looking for are mainly Mountain Loop, Highway 2 and, especially, I-90. Thanks in advance for any suggestions :)
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zen leecher aka Bill W
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by zen leecher aka Bill W » Sun May 22, 2016 7:27 am

Figuring average hiking speed a round trip of 20 miles would take 4 hours (at least) to get in.

Also "good early alpine lakes" is an oxymoron. The good ones aren't early lakes as most of the good ones aren't at a low enough elevation to be that good. The early lakes also aren't a long distance in as they are usually close to a road or trailhead.

There are low lakes/ponds near the Sultan Basin and a bit further east. I seem to remember Ashland and Boardman as being lowish lakes. I never hiked to either of them as I wanted ones a tad further in. Greider is another to consider but it's a bit higher elevation.

If you want to get your feet "wet" you might consider joining the HiLakers that meets down in the Mercer Island community center. You would definitely find lakes with fish and hiking partners there.

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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by meandermeadows » Sun May 22, 2016 2:31 pm

Thanks for the input. I am thinking of hiking into Dorothy/Bear/Deer on Friday. I will play it by ear as far as the snow and ice goes. I read that Bear lake was stocked with Mackinaw in 1996, which has me kind of excited, as I have never caught one. Also, from what I gather, the further back you go, the less likely you are to find people.

I was also considering going into lake Talapus/Olallie/Pratt/Island/Rainbow. I was at Talapus the other day but no sign of fish. My thought is that the lakes that are further in would have better fishing. We shall see :)
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zen leecher aka Bill W
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by zen leecher aka Bill W » Sun May 22, 2016 5:07 pm

Turquoise is one you might put on your bucket list. It's over off of the Icicle River. I tried to go there one trip before GPS's existed and we took the trail to the wrong lake. Never made it to Turquoise. It's about 10 miles in from the trailhead and reputed to have fair sized fish.

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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by Mike Carey » Sun May 22, 2016 5:56 pm

meandermeadows wrote:Thanks for the input. I am thinking of hiking into Dorothy/Bear/Deer on Friday. I will play it by ear as far as the snow and ice goes. I read that Bear lake was stocked with Mackinaw in 1996, which has me kind of excited, as I have never caught one. Also, from what I gather, the further back you go, the less likely you are to find people.

I was also considering going into lake Talapus/Olallie/Pratt/Island/Rainbow. I was at Talapus the other day but no sign of fish. My thought is that the lakes that are further in would have better fishing. We shall see :)
With the snow we had it's definitely early to go too high in elevation. Look for south facing lakes as they will thaw quicker. Dorothy may be a go, it's not too high in elevation.

We have several Alpine Lakes videos, including Talapus/Olallie and some other jems I've documented over the last few years. Skim through the video section and you'll find them. Inspiration if nothing else.

20 miles in a day?!?! Dang, I'm in the 10-12 mile a day max stage of my life. [mellow]
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by meandermeadows » Mon May 23, 2016 4:37 am

Mike Carey wrote:
meandermeadows wrote:Thanks for the input. I am thinking of hiking into Dorothy/Bear/Deer on Friday. I will play it by ear as far as the snow and ice goes. I read that Bear lake was stocked with Mackinaw in 1996, which has me kind of excited, as I have never caught one. Also, from what I gather, the further back you go, the less likely you are to find people.

I was also considering going into lake Talapus/Olallie/Pratt/Island/Rainbow. I was at Talapus the other day but no sign of fish. My thought is that the lakes that are further in would have better fishing. We shall see :)
With the snow we had it's definitely early to go too high in elevation. Look for south facing lakes as they will thaw quicker. Dorothy may be a go, it's not too high in elevation.

We have several Alpine Lakes videos, including Talapus/Olallie and some other jems I've documented over the last few years. Skim through the video section and you'll find them. Inspiration if nothing else.

20 miles in a day?!?! Dang, I'm in the 10-12 mile a day max stage of my life. [mellow]
Part of this is getting back in shape for me. If I can lose 50 pounds then the doc says I won't need my CPAP machine anymore. I have always been able to cover lots of ground. I am not necessarily seeking super long distances, but I wanted to broaden the range of distance that I am willing to go to get into some good fishing :)

BTW, I meant to ask before...could anyone explain to me how the growing season works with alpine lake fish? Would you say the fish are generally hungry and will start biting as soon as the lake thaws out, or is it necessary for the summer heat to kick in? I have heard conflicting theories on this.
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by Mike Carey » Mon May 23, 2016 6:52 am

I've had feist or famine when I go. For me the hike and arrival are highlights, fish are just a bonus. I've not been able to figure it out.
If you're doing 20 mile days that is going to burn a lot of calories. Good luck on your quest!
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by meandermeadows » Mon May 23, 2016 5:21 pm

Thanks Mike! I don't know how many 20 mile days there will be, but likely the more often I go, the bigger the challenge!

I feel the same way about the fish just being a bonus. When I was a kid I would go fishing and not catch anything and be bummed out. Then I would go backpacking with my dad and wish I had a pole with me. So now I am combining the two and if I don't catch fish, at least I had a wonderful adventure :)
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by Mike Carey » Mon May 23, 2016 7:46 pm

BTW, a good hiking resource is http://www.wta.org/ and you may find some early season trail reports.
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by meandermeadows » Mon May 23, 2016 11:13 pm

Yeah, it has become one of my new friends :)
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by zen leecher aka Bill W » Tue May 24, 2016 6:41 am

meandermeadows wrote:
Mike Carey wrote:
meandermeadows wrote:Thanks for the input. I am thinking of hiking into Dorothy/Bear/Deer on Friday. I will play it by ear as far as the snow and ice goes. I read that Bear lake was stocked with Mackinaw in 1996, which has me kind of excited, as I have never caught one. Also, from what I gather, the further back you go, the less likely you are to find people.

I was also considering going into lake Talapus/Olallie/Pratt/Island/Rainbow. I was at Talapus the other day but no sign of fish. My thought is that the lakes that are further in would have better fishing. We shall see :)
With the snow we had it's definitely early to go too high in elevation. Look for south facing lakes as they will thaw quicker. Dorothy may be a go, it's not too high in elevation.

We have several Alpine Lakes videos, including Talapus/Olallie and some other jems I've documented over the last few years. Skim through the video section and you'll find them. Inspiration if nothing else.

20 miles in a day?!?! Dang, I'm in the 10-12 mile a day max stage of my life. [mellow]
Part of this is getting back in shape for me. If I can lose 50 pounds then the doc says I won't need my CPAP machine anymore. I have always been able to cover lots of ground. I am not necessarily seeking super long distances, but I wanted to broaden the range of distance that I am willing to go to get into some good fishing :)

BTW, I meant to ask before...could anyone explain to me how the growing season works with alpine lake fish? Would you say the fish are generally hungry and will start biting as soon as the lake thaws out, or is it necessary for the summer heat to kick in? I have heard conflicting theories on this.

I'd work up to the 20 milers next year by getting in shape this year. For us overweight people, knees, ankles and spots in front of our eyes are our problems. Try some of the shorter hikes first, say 5-8 miles round trip before the more strenuous ones. Turquoise is a killer on the middle 3/4's of the hike as it's switchbacks straight up the hill. For me, my hiking days are behind me and I've donated about all my backpacking gear to the local boy scout troop.

Pete lake over by Salmon la Sac is 5 miles each way (roughly) and it's reasonably flat. Because of that the fishing isn't all that hot. You could try the beaver ponds and small lakes on the way to Wallace Lake.

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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by cwbraue » Tue May 24, 2016 7:52 am

I have fished a lot of alpine lakes but I don't remember ever having good fishing this early except I did catch a fish or two in Eight mile lake in May a few years ago. I know last year a few people had some good early fishing at Cottonwood lake by lake Keechelus, but I think they caught most of the fish.

The water's probably too cold still for the fish to be feeding much in most of the mountains right now, though it will probably warm up in a few weeks. I-90 lakes would include Ollalie, Annette, Mason and Melakwa, though I don't think you'd have much luck in any of those right now and I don't think Mason has any fish in it.

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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by meandermeadows » Tue May 24, 2016 6:57 pm

zen leecher aka Bill W wrote:I'd work up to the 20 milers next year by getting in shape this year. For us overweight people, knees, ankles and spots in front of our eyes are our problems. Try some of the shorter hikes first, say 5-8 miles round trip before the more strenuous ones. Turquoise is a killer on the middle 3/4's of the hike as it's switchbacks straight up the hill. For me, my hiking days are behind me and I've donated about all my backpacking gear to the local boy scout troop.

Pete lake over by Salmon la Sac is 5 miles each way (roughly) and it's reasonably flat. Because of that the fishing isn't all that hot. You could try the beaver ponds and small lakes on the way to Wallace Lake.
I think Friday will be a great opportunity to listen to my body. FWIW, I have been walking and doing small hikes all winter and spring, so it isn't like this is my first time out of the gate. I am really hoping to get up to Bear and Deer lakes. I think that will make for a full day :)
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by meandermeadows » Tue May 24, 2016 7:15 pm

cwbraue wrote:I have fished a lot of alpine lakes but I don't remember ever having good fishing this early except I did catch a fish or two in Eight mile lake in May a few years ago. I know last year a few people had some good early fishing at Cottonwood lake by lake Keechelus, but I think they caught most of the fish.

The water's probably too cold still for the fish to be feeding much in most of the mountains right now, though it will probably warm up in a few weeks. I-90 lakes would include Ollalie, Annette, Mason and Melakwa, though I don't think you'd have much luck in any of those right now and I don't think Mason has any fish in it.
Thanks for the insight! I am hearing this quite a lot, which is very encouraging.

On the flipside of this, today I went to Ted's and bought some lures. One of the guys there, Mike, has fished a hundred alpine lakes, and he told me that he likes fishing the thaw out because fish bite and fight hard. I'm hoping you're both right :)
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by namaycush » Wed May 25, 2016 9:31 pm

If your interested in mackinaw, there are a few alpine lakes that have large fish but most of those lakes were planted around 1920. Bear lake was planted recently in 1996 but the fish take many years to get big. If you go to books.google.com you can find the old planting records starting around 1910 for many high mountain lake. I haven't fished Snoqualmie lake near Bear but it had plants recently in 2000 but some fish were stocked around 1915. Also, a float tube with a portable sonar gets you out to deeper water so you can drop the lure down in the cone and watch the fish bite it.

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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by meandermeadows » Thu May 26, 2016 2:12 am

Thanks! I will see if I can't find more info. I have been talking with a guy here that reached out to me about float tubing, he has a spare and said he would show me the ropes and see if it is something I want to do more of. I might also consider a pack raft as well for these high lakes.
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by zen leecher aka Bill W » Thu May 26, 2016 8:18 am

The Curtis raft may be the lightest raft out there. It's no longer in production but I heard Brian was giving classes on how to make one.

Lake trout are in Isabel out by Sultan if you are interested. I was up there a couple of times.

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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by meandermeadows » Thu May 26, 2016 9:17 am

Yeah, I plan on joining the Trailblazers, although I am not sure I can commit to being a full fledged member. I have heard good things about the Curtis raft. I have also heard the Alpackas are pretty darn nice too.

And thank you for the tip on Lake Isabel! The guy at the fishing shop told me that the other day, and I have been racking my brain trying to remember which lake it was. How big is Isabel? Is it real deep?
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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by Eglseder » Thu May 26, 2016 7:09 pm

I might be heading to boardman, coal, pass and independence tomorrow...if the weather isn't too rainy. They are all easy access and early enough there wouldn't be a crowd other than a few hikers. I hiked up lake twenty two early this week and there was a decent amount of surfacing....midday.

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Re: Good early alpinelakes

Post by The Quadfather » Thu May 26, 2016 9:27 pm

Eglseder wrote:I might be heading to boardman, coal, pass and independence tomorrow...if the weather isn't too rainy. They are all easy access and early enough there wouldn't be a crowd other than a few hikers. I hiked up lake twenty two early this week and there was a decent amount of surfacing....midday.
Eglseder,

I am very familiar with Coal, and Independence lakes.
I have always wanted to walk in and fish Pass lake, but the one possible time, my daughter was hiking with me, and she got bored, and back to the car we went.
If you get in there soon, maybe send me a PM or something. Just woukd like to hear the layout, what you think of it, etc.

(For anyone following.. this is not Pass lake by Anacortes, but a small sub-alpine lake, rather.)

Coal lake is easy brookie fishing. Independance was a solid fishery 20 years ago and more. Fished it a few times last 5 years.
Last summer hit it hard, sonar, float tubes, kitchen sink... Caught one 10" fish. :scratch:

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