We decided a couple of days ago to try Rock Lake for the first time and began hearing about basalt columns just under the surface in multiple locations throughout the lake. We checked out all the sources on the internet about the lake and its hazards including a good discussion on NWFR. There were also warnings about the unimproved launch. Several videos on Utube showed some days of fantastic fishing on Rock so I went to bed bent on going to Rock Lake today. Not surprising it was not a good nights sleep as I kept thinking of all the things that could go wrong, especially on a sub freezing day.
An early morning dental appointment kept us from an early start. We were discussing just going to Sprague Lake enroute but the last couple of cold days had Sprague entirely frozen over. Nature made the decision for us so off to Rock we rolled. Water visibility at the launch was limited but it looked like it dropped off quick enough. We had no difficulty launching and were able to get close enough to shore just right of the launch to pick up Al.
We went only a couple hundred yards and began trolling flickershads and an Old Goat Lure. The lake is 8 miles long and over 300 feet deep in places and initially we stayed as far away from both shorelines as possible with a constant gaze on the sonar and one hand on the throttle. After 90 minutes without a twitch we pulled the gear up and headed to the North end. I stayed in the middle of the lake and gradually increased speed although the fear of these basalt columns never left my mind.
Put the gear back out and it took only a few minutes to hook a very small brown trout followed shortly by a small rainbow, both on an orange OGL. We trolled back down lake and worked shallower water and along deep drop offs. We C&R 6 more rainbows during the afternoon. 4 were 16-17 inches and the others smaller. One on an orange Kekeda fly and the rest on the orange and perch OGLs. We used 1/4-1/2 ounce weights with speed 2.0-2.4 MPH. We marked a fair number of fish 20-40 feet down but heavier weights did not yield any fish for us. We saw a few of the basalt columns rise up rather quickly when we were in water less than 60 feet and one came within 3 feet of the surface. At trolling speed I had time to alter course since I never took my eyes off the sonar for long.
We were able to get my 18 foot Lund out of the water without difficulty but I would not have wanted to try it without 4 WD.
I apologize for the lengthy report but wanted to share my first time concerns and experience at Rock Lake. We didn't sink the boat and the launch was useable, therefore it was a great day on the water on a cold day and after a dental appointment!