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.
While it’s September and the rain has started here in the NW. At the end of last week we got an inch or two of rain and so my wife, daughter, and I went out to see what was happening around us. First we stopped at my favorite Chantrelle patch on the way to the coast and I ran in the woods 200 feet or so and found a few small Chantelles here and there (looks like it should be a good season). Then we headed down to Alex’s Lobster mushroom patch on the coast and found six large mushrooms. After a lunch at Mo’s in Cannon Beach (yeah, I know it’s a tourist trap) we headed down to Ghirabaldi to check out a spot near the Miami for Chantrelles. Even though it was closer to the coast where there is a lot more moisture there were no Chantelles around. So we headed back up to the lower Nehalem where I got in a little fishing and got to scope out lots of the river. And I caught this Cutthroat beauty.
The other day I went to the Wilson to hike up a section of the river I had not been on. I found lots of great holes and bends in the river that I will be going back to soon when the larger Cuttthroat come up. Caught a lot of little guys on nymphs and dries but couldn’t seem to find the big ones. The one nice one I did get into I wasn’t even paying attention and he ran off with my line and then slipped off when I tried to get some tension on. Geez, newbie. There was one larger one cruising in barely moving water about 12 feet down—he was just there to taunt me.
So with my great collection of plastic and glass bottles that I had found I headed back to the car (btw – don’t pick up beer cans in the woods in Oregon as slugs love beer but it kills them and they stew in the sun and the beer and it makes a REALLY awful smell). On the way out I found a great ocean blue marble with a cream and red band running through it. The marble even seems like it is handmade as its not 100% round and has the little bump where it would have been on a glass makers stick. Odd the stuff you find. Speaking of odd check out this sign I saw at the gas station.
I actually started looking at all the bugs that are constantly accumulating on my windows to see if I could make any matches. Now they just need to put BWOs and PMDs on the sign.
So I don’t know if I have just not been on the right rivers at the right time or if I have have just never payed that much attention but I have not seen a Sculpin before. I have seen photos of them but when you see them at your feet its a different story. Man they have big heads. I was just watching Streamer Fishing for Trophy Trout (see post below) the other day and I was thinking that his Sculpin fly, the Zoo Cougar (image below), was huge. Nope, Sculpins are bigger. The one in the photo was five or six inches long and I could see others around that looked bigger. I think the water in the Nehalem was just to warm and they were being super dormant because I have been there several times and never seen them. All I know is I am going to have to tie up some of his Zoo Cougar’s and give it a try when the water cools off. Maybe when it cools the Cuttthroats will come up!
I carved out a little time the other day to run off to the Wilson River and I am sorry to say I could not find any large Searun Cutthroat. Just tons and tons of six to nine inchers. The section of river in the photo below usually holds at least a few nice size ones. Nope, not today.
So I practiced my casting (trying to avoid the little fish). MidCurrent has a whole bunch of videos on their sight and I had just watched one called “The hand and arm” from that master caster Joan Wulff. Hand, arm, hand, arm, hand…