Date:: August 31 through September 2, 2001
Thanks-to:: Mike MacGregor
CHIWAUKUM LAKE (& HONOUR LAKE)
Nestled at 5,210 feet (1) to the east of the Chiwaukum Mountains in the northeast corner of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of the Wenatchee National Forest, this alpine lake may be reached via Trail #1571 or #1574. The lake contains eastern brook. The WDFW reports rainbow and cutthroat also (2); yet none of the fishermen I spoke to had caught any and nor did I: it is very possible they have been overrun by the brookies (which average 8 inches). The lake is surrounded by eight other alpine lakes (Honour, Larch, Cup, Jason, Donald, Julius, Ethel, and Eileen), each reported by to have trout. A word of caution: reaching Chiwaukum requires a 3,000-foot elevation gain, and many of the surrounding lakes are “cross-country” access only.
I caught about a dozen of the pan-sized brookies on either a streamer (Spruce) or leach (Woolly Bugger) pattern. Although I saw some black midges (size 16) and mayfly nymphs (size 14), I did not witness any of the typical hatches I expected from an alpine lake. There was a good supply of bottom vegetation on the lake’s west end (at the inlet), and noticeable minnows among the shoreline and in the inlet. The east of the lake has a logjam and is deep.
Other fishermen were having success on spinners and bait; so there were many way to catch the fish. I didn’t take the water temperature.
I did hike over to Honour Lake, several hundred yards from Chiwaukum, and caught six or so brookies, sizes three to 10 inches, on streamers.
I fished Friday night (no fish), Saturday for two hours (one lost fish) since it rained and the wind blew all day, and Sunday all day (many fish). I hiked out today.
The hike into the lake was continually upwards, especially the last two miles on the Chiwaukum Creek Trail: in a mile and a half we hiked (climbed) 1200 feet! It took my wife and I nearly six-and-a-half hours to hike in and only four and a half to hike out. I didn’t realize how far we had climbed until I had to go down. For our effort, we did see some beautiful scenery.