Lost Lake, arrgghhh

I have gone up to Lost Lake in Clatsop County for the last two weekends and seen several really large trout cruising the shore and all I can catch are little guys. This anchored my pontoon and waited for the large ones to come by and would cast out twenty feet in front of them , but nothing. I almost wish I couldn’t see the large fish then it wouldn’t make it so bad when I just catch the little ones. If anyone has any ideas of what I might throw in front of those large fish let me know. I would love to catch one.

Lost Lake in Clatsop State Forest

So if you read an earlier post on Lost Lake in Clatsop State Forest (in the Nehalem watershed) and you were wondering where it was I thought this might help: Google Map.

My recommendation would be to turn off highway 26 onto Lower Nehalem Rd and then go about 5 miles and make the left turn on Lost Lake Road just before the Spruce Run Campground. The Lake will be a few miles up the steep road on the right. You can always try going the way the ODFW tells you to go (on Quartz Creek Road) but there are no signs anywhere and you have to make four turns on logging roads that are in active use right now (and have been for the last year).

The lake is about 15-acres and the maximum depth runs about 20 feet. It is full of downed trees to snag on so keep the flies light. The lake is stocked several times a year and there is carry over. It is best in the early and mid spring then again in late summer. I sit in my pontoon and cast towards objects near the banks for best results. There is not a lot of room on the banks to cast inwards unless you like standing on floating logs in the water like I do. In spring I have done well with a Green Caddis Pupa (like this) and have even caught a few on Elk Hair Caddis under overhangs. Most fish run smaller but can hit 14 to 18 by the end of the season.

This is a typical spring fish:

And a photo of me on the lake (using my chair to kneel on):

You can camp at Spruce Run Campground for $10 or so but you can also do dispersed camping anywhere in the Clatsop State Forest. There are a few sites down river from the campground that are right on the river and have rings and picnic tables but are considered dispersed so they are free.

There is also a trail from Spruce Run campground that heads about two miles east to Spruce Run Lake which has some small cutthroat in it. It’s not an easy hike.

Lost Lake, Clatsop State Forest

I went out to the Nehalem River the other day to see if the Searun Cutthroat had made there way up into the river yet but all I could find were a few six to ten inchers hiding in the riffles. So instead of hiking up and down the river on this particular 90 degree day (sorry bro, I know 90 is nothing to you) I decided to head up to Lost Lake. For some reason there are at least four Lost Lakes in Oregon but this particular one is a nice 45 minute drive from Portland and is located in the Clatsop State Forest. I pumped up my Costco pontoon (yeah Costco has a pontoon) and headed on out with a chips and a cooler of beers. You get to wondering on your third beer, as you float around and have not landed a single fish, “wow do I really suck this bad?” but then the sun went over the edge of the trees around the end of beer three the hatch started. Little caddis and what looked like tons of trico. I wasn’t able to catch any of the trico (it’s hard to catch fast bugs in a slow boat) but the little black caddis were around and some were landing on me so I took that as a sign. I have only recently started tying flies in mass instead of the one off here or there like I did before so I had plenty of little elk hair caddis to throw on out. There is something so great about a fish taking the fly that you tied just that morning. Ahhhhh… About ten to twelve fish later my wife and daughter came back from the coast, which is only 25 minutes away, and picked me up. I like my lazy Costco pontoon.