Wallowa Lake – 06/01/2019

Time: 3:30PM – 5:00PM

Location: Inlet at the southern end of the lake.

Wallowa Lake 06/01/2019 Photo Album

While browsing the shops in Joseph, OR on Friday, we stopped in a jewelry store that was connected to the Joseph Fly Shop. While Amy and Jane inspected the earrings and necklaces, I inched across the threshold to the fly shop. A different person was manning the store from the person who suggested Kinney Lake on Tuesday, so I began to pump him with questions about fishing in Wallowa Lake. He suggested that the best place to achieve Wallowa Lake fishing success was the inlet area. He instructed me to wade out on the shelf, until my feet began to sink in shifting gravel and then back off a step or two. Using this position, he advised that I should spray casts into the entering current and allow my nymph or streamer to drift over and beyond the drop off.

The Shelf

I left Amy and Jane at the free state parks day concert and hustled back to the campsite, where I quickly climbed into my waders and assembled my Sage five weight fly rod. I added the necessary auxiliary gear and began my hike to the lake inlet area. I circled around the east side of the lake using the highway shoulder, and I slid down a cinder bank and approached the southeast corner of the lake. To begin my quest for trout I rigged my line with an olive slumpbuster and added a prince nymph, that I purchased at the Joseph Fly Shop.

Shoreline in View

I carefully moved to where the first large braid entered the lake on the eastern side of the delta, and I began lobbing casts into the place, where the incoming current conflicted with the waves of the lake. After ten minutes of exploratory casting, I hooked a fish, but it escaped, before I could land it. I moved across the current to the western side and managed to hook and land a ten inch rainbow on the trailing prince. I was rather pleased with this small dose of success after Thursday’s skunking.

Another Prince Nymph Eater

Soon after my first successful landing I generated a couple momentary hook ups, but then I suffered through an extended dry spell, so I moved to the entry point of the next braid, which represented greater flow than the first. In this position I hooked and landed three additional rainbows in the ten to twelve inch range. Each fish was very white and silver with fine speckles along its back. Numbers one and two nabbed the prince nymph, and the last netted fish attacked the slumpbuster. In the midst of this action I also hooked one that broke off the prince, so I replaced it with a size 14, that I tied over the winter.


For the final fifteen minutes I waded to the western most channel, which was actually the largest, but I was thwarted in my attempt to add to the fish count. I followed the directions of the fly shop salesman and waded to the edge of the inlet shelf at each place, and much to my satisfaction, the ploy worked. I registered four rainbow trout in 1.5 hours of fishing in the late afternoon on June 1. I am not sure whether the rainbows were stockers or wild, but judging from their bright silvery-white appearance and clean fins, I suspect the latter. Perhaps I can improve my stillwater technique during the extended run off of 2019.

Fish Landed: 4

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