Walupt Lake- Fishing at a different pace.
My family and I were looking for a quiet getaway to break the routine of the traditional 4th of July festivities. At the suggestion of my fishing partner we decided to head to Walupt Lake in SW Washington for a few days of relaxation and trout fishing.
Of course we all know that summer doesn’t start until the Fourth in the Pacific Northwest and the theory held true with perfect mountain temperatures around 70 degrees. The lake itself is absolutely beautiful with it’s gin clear water surrounded by steep hills on the south and west sides. To add to the scenery, the elevation still gave harbor to some mountain snow, which was also continuing to keep lake temperatures down as things were warming up.
Walupt Lake has plenty of water to wade, but quickly drops to a depth of 295 feet. For those looking to keep their feet planted to the shore, there is a trail around some of the lake with bank access on the North and West sides.
We brought float tubes and a raft to fish out of and the expanded access that they provided turned out to be one of the keys to our fishing success. Fishing was good to excellent for us, with cutthroat and rainbows from 10 to 16 inches taken each day. We even caught a brown trout on a small panther martin spinner. Much of our success came on the ledge that dropped off on the SW corner of the lake. In the mornings we would slowly troll brown and black wooly buggers with a bit of flashabou tied into the patterns. 10-20 feet of water seemed to be where the fish would feed with the sun off the water. During the day we fished deeper and would simply use turns and our speed to cover the wider range of depth. We only fished a few hours each morning and evening, with 30 or so fish to the net for the 3 days.
We released all but 6 of the fish we caught. The fish we did bring back to camp received a quick salt brine, and were then smoked next to the camp fire for several hours. The result was a delicious smoky, crispy snack before dinner.
In addition to the fishing there are several excellent hikes in the area. Access to the Nannie Ridge trail is at the East end of the campground with access to the Pacific Crest Trail 4 miles another 4 miles. There is also a horse camp just a mile down the road, with trails throughout the area.
On the last evening an Osprey came down and grabbed a fish from the shallow water along the shoreline. It took two attempts but he finally got airborne with a very nice sized brown secured firmly with it’s talons. This turned out to be the perfect ending to an incredible Fourth of July fishing trip.
How to get there: Walupt Lake is located near the Goat Rocks Wilderness between Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens. From HWY 12 take Forest Road 21 to Forest Road 21260. The last 5 miles of the journey is on gravel road.
Where to Stay: Walupt Lake has about 25 basic (non hookup) campsites, with campsites 37-42 right on the water. The campground was very quiet, and never close to half capacity while we were there.
Allen Mulanax is a lifelong lover of the outdoors and passionate fisherman from Gladstone, Oregon.