John Kruse - 6/20/2008
If you are looking for an alpine lake or small stream angling experience away from the crowds head over to North Central Washington. The often overlooked lakes and streams of the Entiat Mountains between Lake Wenatchee and the Entiat River provide good fishing in a wilderness setting for a variety of outdoors enthusiasts.
I have been able to explore this area on horseback with Icicle Outfitters out of Entiat the last two summers and have come to love many aspects of this scenic area. Forests of pine and larch are interspersed by meadows that bloom in the summer with a colorful display of yellow, white, purple, lavender and red wildflowers. Deer are plentiful, as are golden mantled ground squirrels and birds such as pine siskin, evening grosbeak, red crossbill, and bold gray jays (camp robbers).
The waters of the Entiat Mountains, an eastern portion of the Cascade Mountain Range, don’t seem to get much notice from hikers. It could be because most of the trails are multi-use ones, open not only to hikers but also to equestrians, motorcyclists and mountain bicyclists. Because of this many of the paths are broad and can be dusty. Users also have to take care not to spook stock animals such as horses and mules and give them the right of way when encountered.
As far as anglers are concerned there are two areas of interest to explore. The first lies towards the end of the Entiat River Road (accessed off of US Highway 97A from Wenatchee or Chelan). The Entiat River is open to fishing above the Entiat River Falls. Anglers casting flies or small spinners will likely be rewarded with rainbow or brook trout up to 8 inches long at the end of their lines. An easy and level 4 mile hike from the end of the road past the Cottonwood Campground leads to 19-acre Myrtle Lake. Brook trout, most of them small, are found here along with several nice camping spots. Hikers and horsemen can work their way uphill for another 1.8 miles and head to the two Larch Lakes. These small lakes contain cutthroat trout and are popular destinations in the fall when the needles on the larch trees around the lake turn a spectacular golden hue.
Other lakes and streams to fish are found in the Mad River and Tommy Creek drainages. Long time Icicle Outfitter wranglers Wendell Long and Fred Duzan have rode horses to lakes in this mountain area for years. They both state the four lakes here are worth fishing. “All of them have cutthroat. The biggest ones are found in the larger of the Two Little Lakes (Lake Louise). You’ll find the fastest fishing in Mad Lake. You can also catch brook trout in Lost Lake”.
You can access this area from the Mad River Road or Forest Service Road 5605 off of Entiat River Road above Silver Falls. Another way to get here is by driving up Forest Service Road 6101 from Lake Wenatchee north of US Highway 2 to Deer Camp (for trailers hauling stock or dirt bikes) or Maverick Saddle (if you have an all wheel drive vehicle).
The Mad River is open for fishing above Jimmy Creek and holds cutthroat trout that readily attack flies cast into the clear pools of this small stream. You can follow the Mad River Trail 15 miles to Mad Lake, a pretty meadow lined lake that holds good numbers of pan size cutthroat trout. Another path not far from here branches off from the Mad River Trail and leads to the Two Little Lakes. Forming the headwaters of Tommy Creek, Lake Ann is an emerald green colored 3-acre lake and Lake Louise is a little over 9-acres. Cutthroat trout to 15-inches can be had by anglers using spinners, spoons, or flies at these two little gems. Finally, forest lined Lost Lake is the closest lake to anglers coming in on the Mad River Trail from either Ardenvoir or the Maverick Saddle. Patient anglers may be rewarded with brook or cutthroat trout from 9 to 12 inches long. Spoons and long casting spinners like Mack’s Promise Keepers work best to get you to the deeper water where the fish are.
These high lakes lie between 3700 feet and 6000 feet in elevation. Most are accessible from mid-June thru early October. The Upper Entiat and Mad Rivers are open from June 1st through October 31st. Selective regulations apply on the Entiat and a check with the U.S. Forest Service regarding trail closures and restrictions is also a good bet before setting out for a fishing expedition or adventure into this lightly pressured part of the Cascades.
FOR MORE INFO:
Icicle Outfitters – www.icicleoutfitters.com – Tel. 1-800-497-3912
Wenatchee National Forest – Entiat Ranger District – www.fs.fed.us/r6/wenatchee/recreation - Tel. 509-784-1511
NOTE: This article was published in Fishing and Hunting News in 2007.