Six Best Fly Fishing Lakes Near Mt. Hood

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Six Best Fly Fishing Lakes Near Mt. Hood

By Mark Bachmann

Photo of Mirror Lake near Mt. Hood.Mt Hood rises to an elevation of 11,240 feet. Because of this elevation, it and the surrounding Cascade Mountain Range pull much of the moisture from the westerly flow that come from the Pacific Ocean, The result is that many lakes and streams collect and channel this water back toward the Ocean from whence it came. Many of these lake and stream abound with sport fish. Some of the larger lakes can be very good for fly fishing. Six of the best ar listed here for your consideration.

Trillium Lake
Photo of Trillium Lake near Mt. Hood in Oregon.

Trillium Lake Map

The picture above explains one of the reasons that trillium lake is so popular. Few places on Earth could be rated as more beautiful, especially on a calm, late spring day with Mt. Hood reflecting in the mirror-like surface. Trillium Lake is easy to get too, being only about two miles from Hwy 26, and accessible by a paved road. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks catchable size rainbow trout each month through the summer. Plantings of "Trophy" trout can be expected in the fall. Trillium has a large camp ground, boat ramp and fishing dock. With easy access, and loads of fat dumb trout, this is a great lake for beginning anglers to start out on.
Hatches: Trillium Lake is noted for prolific hatches of Callibaetis mayflies, damsel flies, caddis and chironomids.
How to get there from our store: Hwy 26 (E) to Trillium access Rd. (paved), then (2) miles to lake. Distance from The Fly Fishing Shop:15 mi.
Best: Starts to fish right after ice-out,May - June is peak, but also fishes well in the fall, because of it's dark bottom and shallow nature, this lake gets very warm during August. Fishing Lake: fairly stable water level, the water is tea colored.
Elevation: 3601'
Area: 57 acres max.
Depth: 16' max.
Fish species: stocked rainbows average 9" to 12"
Regulations: general/bait allowed - no motors allowed

Frog Lake

Mt Hood Sunset - Frog Lake Oregon - 4K from Alex Pullen on Vimeo.

Frog Lake Map

Frog Lake is a 10-acre lake in Wasco County, Oregon, located south of Mount Hood off U.S. Route 26 between Government Camp and Maupin. The lake is primarily used for recreational purposes, such as camping, boating, fishing, and swimming.

Hatches: Frog Lake is noted prolific hatches of Tadpoles, Callibaetis may flies and chironomids.
How to get there from our store: Hwy 26 (E) through Government Camp, another seven miles look for the sign on the right.
Approximate distance: 18 mi.
Best: May - July but also fishes well in the fall
Irrigation reservoir: fluctual water level
Elevation: 3865'
Area: 10 acres max.
Depth: 12' max.
Fish species: stocked rainbows average 9" to 12", brood trout to 10 lb.
Regulations: general/bait allowed - no motors allowed

Clear Lake
Photo of a rainbow trout caught from Clear Lake near Mt. Hood in Oregon.

Clear Lake Map

Clear Lake is an irrigation reservoir and its water level fluctuates dramatically in an annual cycle. As snow melts in the spring this lake fills with water, then drains during the summer. During the summer months it is possible to drive around the lake on the dry margins. Thus, you can literally fish from your car (if it has good clearance). Four wheel drive is recommended. The margins of the lake taper gently into deeper water, so wading is a good approach in many places. The lake bottom was logged before it was filled, so there are many under water stumps that provide cover for trout and aquatic insects. Targeting areas around stumps is a good approach to finding fish. Using polarized glasses for spotting cruising trout can pay big dividends. Fishing nymphs with floating or slow sinking lines can get you hooked up.
Hatches: Clear Lake is noted prolific hatches of Callibaetis may flies and chironomids. Crayfish patterns & wooly buggers are also productive.
How to get there from our store: Hwy 26 (E) through Government Camp, another seven miles look for the sign on the right.
Approximate distance: 18 mi.
Best: May - July but also fishes well in the fall
Irrigation reservoir: fluctual water level
Elevation: 3500'
Area: 475 acres max.
Depth: 22' max.
Fish species: stocked rainbows average 9" to 12", brood trout to 10 lb., self perpetuating brook trout to 5 lb.
Regulations: general/bait allowed - motors allowed - speed limit controlled

Timothy Lake
Photo of a wild rainbow trout caught with a Hexagina fly from Timothy Lake near Mt. Hood in Oregon.

Timothy Lake Map

Timothy Lake was formed a hydro-electric storage reservoir when the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River was Dammed in the 1950's. It is one of the larger lakes in the Mount Hood National Forest. The lake sets in a forested setting. A Forest Service road parallels the south sid of the lake and a hiking trail encircles the entire lake which makes access easy. The water level stays full during the spring and summer months with draw-down happening in the fall. The lake remains drawn down about twenty feet most of the winter and refills with snow melt the following spring. In most places the shoreline is fairly steep, so fly fishing is done mostly from boats or float tubes. Fishing can also be done from the log boom which reaches across the lake a couple of hundred yards above the dam.ODFW Willamette district stocking schedule
Hatches: Timothy Lake is noted for prolific hatches of Callibaetis may flies, Hexaginia may flies and chironomids. This lake gets terrific terrestrial falls of ants and termites. Crayfish patterns & wooly buggers are also productive.
How to get there from our store:Hwy 26 (E) to Skyline Rd. (paved), then (7) miles to lake.
Approximate distance: 40 mi.
Camping reservations: The various camp grounds around Timothy
Lake features nearly 200 camp sites.

Lost Lake
Photo of a large rainbow trout caught on a Hexaginia fly from Lost lake near Mt. Hood.

Lost Lake Map

Lost Lake is located about thirty miles northeast of Welches ,Oregon and about 20 miles southwest of Hood River , Oregon. The lake is bordered by old growth alpine forest that grows to the waters edge. The surrounding basin is sleep sided and heavily wooded. The dramatic north side of Mt. Hood forms a fitting back drop. The water is very clear and reflective. The steep-sided bottom turns gray and then very quickly to ultra marine.
As you float near shore, over a shoal of gray silt, you pear over the side of your float tube and become aware that the bottom is full of holes. These are the burrows of the famous Hexaginia mayflies that produce this lake's best known hatch. These large (1 1/4") insects emerge at dark on certain evenings in July and August. Evenings when the hatch comes off strong can produce numbers of large fish feeding at the surface. The next evening might be a light hatch or a no-show. It's like plying roulette, but definately worth it if you hit the jack pot. Lost Lake has some trophy size fish, but you better figure on earning them. Visibility in the water is about 40'. At times fishing pressure can be intense. Bag limits are liberal. The kill is heavy. In spite of this trout survive to 20" with regularity, and trout to 30" have been reported. These fish are survivors. Long leaders and a stealthy approach are needed. Luck can play a role.
The center of Lost lake is very deep and not easy to fly fish. Trolling streamers with very fast sinking lines can produce some decent fish. On the average the best fishing in this lake is fairly close to shore. All of the aquatic insects emerge from the shallower water. Terrestrial insects such as ants, beetles, termites and bees continually rain from the surrounding forest. They too are concentrated along the edges.
There are times when the largest trout in this lake will ball up and feed on juvenile Kokenee Salmon. The trout seem to prefer first year bait fish that are about 2-3 inches long. A blue and silver streamer can produce some hard strikes. There are cabins and boats to rent. There is a small store. A very nice U.S. Forest Service camp ground is located on the lake. Launching a boat or float tubes is easy.
Hatches: Lost Lake is noted for prolific hatches Hexaginia may flies. This lake gets terrific terrestrial falls of ants and termites. Crayfish patterns & wooly buggers are also productive
How to get there from our store: Lolo Pass Road (E) to Lolo Pass (paved), then (10) miles (gravel) Dry Run bridge on West fork of Hood river, follow signs to lake (9) miles (paved).
Approximate distance: 40 mi.
Best: May - early August but also fishes well in the fall
Natural Lake: fairly stable water level
Elevation: 3143'
Area: 231 acres max.
Depth: 175' max.
Fish species: stocked rainbows average 9" to 12", brood trout to 10 lb., self perpetuating brook, cutthroat, rainbow, brown trout & kokenee salmon. Some very large trout are available.
Regulations: general/bait allowed - no motors allowed

Laurance Lake
Photo of a large rainbow trout caught on a nymph from Laurance Lake near Mt. Hood in Oregon.

Laurance Lake Map

Due to a project on the irrigation dam Laurance Lake will be closed for 2018. It will reopen for 2019.

Laurance is potentially the best fly fishing lake in the Mount Hood region because angling regulations don't allow the killing of wild fish. Wild Bull Trout, wild rainbows and wild cutthroats inhabit this reservoir and provide an interesting mix in fishing. Average fish are less than 15", but occasionally fish of over 20" may be encountered. The best part of this lake for fly fishing is often around the mouths of tributary streams although near the dam can also be very productive. If this lake has a downside, it is that the Columbia Gorge wind can blow very strongly here. Hatches: Laurence Lake is noted for its prolific hatches of Callibaetis mayflies. Hexeginia mayflies also occurs mid summer as well as terrestrial insect falls.
Best: May - November
Irrigation reservoir: fluctual water level
Elevation: 2980'
Area: 127 acres max.
Depth: 105' max.
Fish species: stocked rainbows average 9" to 12", but sometimes there are fish of over 5-pounds, wild Bull Trout sanctuary
Regulations: flies & lures only - no motors



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