Kinney Lake – 05/29/2019

Time: 10:00AM – 12:00PM

Location: Southern shoreline.

Kinney Lake 05/29/2019 Photo Album

Jane and I were abruptly awakened from our sleep at 5:30AM on Wednesday, May 29 by the loud rumble of thunder. This disturbance was followed by gusts of wind, and sheets of rain pelted against the side of our Big Agnes tent. Needless to say we were not amused by the unfavorable weather situation on Wednesday morning.

We both nodded off, when the storm ended, but when I decided to roll out of my sleeping bag permanently, I pulled on my rain pants, raincoat, and hiking boots. In Oregon it is prudent to avoid getting one’s clothes wet, as drying is a slow process in the high humidity climate of the Pacific northwest.

Fortunately the storm quickly moved to the east, and it was followed by relatively benign weather with partially cloudy skies. I scheduled Wednesday as a fly fishing day in my original plan; however, the raging flows in the rivers confined me to stillwater destinations. I decided to sample Kinney Lake and estimated, that I would endure no longer than three hours of stillwater fly fishing, so Jane decided to accompany me. Kinney Lake was the body of water recommended by the gentleman at the Joseph Fly Shop on Tuesday.

We made the drive into Joseph, OR and then turned right on the Imnaha Highway and continued for another five miles. We turned right and drove for 1.5 miles, before we headed left on a gravel road, until we intersected with Kinney Lake. Two trucks preceded us to the parking lot. The lake was in a relatively open meadow area with a few trees on the western edge.

Smooth Cove Received Quite a Few Casts

Jane pulled out her chair and prepared to read, while I geared up with my waders and my Sage five weight rod. A breeze riffled the surface of the lake by the parking lot, but I observed a small cove along the southeastern shoreline that was protected, so I departed for that portion of the lake. Another fisherman was moving in that general direction in a pontoon boat, as I ambled along the well worn path. As I moved along, I scanned the surface for rises, but the riffles masked any surface activity, so I decided to try a two fly presentation featuring a slumpbuster as the front fly trailing a go2 sparkle pupa.

I executed an abundant quantity of casts and strips with no response in the partially protected cove, and then I hiked to the eastern end of the lake. During this first hour a breeze blew periodically and ruffled the surface of the lake. Between 11:00AM and 11:30AM I circled back toward the parking area, and I spotted a few rises next to a pair of large rocks along the bank. This observation caused me to stop, and I spent thirty minutes stripping the flies in the new area.

Scene of My One and Only Landed Trout

The stop over was productive, as I connected with five fish.The first hook up broke off both flies, and I never felt the weight, so I suspected a bad knot explained the lost flies. I momentarily hooked two, and another was on my line long enough to propel itself out of the water, before it escaped. One of the five was a nine inch rainbow trout that rested in my net, after it consumed the go2 sparkle pupa. This was easily my most active section of the lake.


The response to my slumpbuster and go2 sparkle pupa slowed, as the wind died back, and the pace of surface rises accelerated a bit. The rises were sporadic and by no means a heavy hatch, but they encouraged me to switch to a double dry fly approach. I experimented with an olive-brown body deer hair caddis trailing a size 22 griffiths gnat on a six inch dropper. When I settled on this technique, I was very optimistic that the combination would dupe one of the risers; but alas, noon arrived, and I returned to the car with only one small rainbow in the fish count.

I am admittedly a novice when it comes to stillwater fishing; however, I did manage to land a fish in Oregon and had opportunities for more. The weather was cool but dry, and the lake was picturesque in an open meadow sort of way. Jane conversed with the pontoon angler, who informed her that he experienced spectacular success during a spring outing the previous year. As we departed the rough dirt parking lot, I pondered a return visit during our remaining stay at Wallowa Lake State Park.

Fish Landed: 1

From the East End Looking West



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