I took my twin brother Kevin and our buddy Jason up to this great alpine lake today. The hike is really not a big deal, it took us about an hour at a leisurely pace to get to Little Eight Mile Lake where we threw in some rooster tails for a couple casts. We were immediately rewarded. Jason caught a nice Cutt and then I immediately caught a 9" brook. On the way back to the trail I figured I'd throw in one more time. Well, I am glad I did. I had a huge bend on my pole and a 2-3 minute fight. I brought it close to shore, and by that time Kevin and Jason were there to see what this big fish was. Remember, this little lake is nothing more than a mud hole this year as the creek is slow. Anyway, right as I got this sucker to shore, the sun was glaring and I couldn't see what it was, but all I could see was Jason's jaw drop about six inches. Anyway, this brook trout was 19" long and weighed nearly three pounds. It was fat and it was the king of this tiny lake. Well, the hike was worth just catching that one fish, but we took off for the remaining 15 minutes of hiking to the big lake. I took off down the west shore while Jason and Kevin did the east shore. We were disappointed at first as we didn't even have a bite for the first hour of fishing. Luck soon came to us as I heard Jason yell across the lake that he finally had a fish on. It was a 14" rainbow. We ended up catching 22 fish altogether, majority by the northernmost inlet stream. We used red roostertails, orange blue foxes, kastmasters, and promise keepers. These rainbows are HUGE for an alpine lake. The biggest was nearly 17". If you don't believe me, I suggest you take a hike into this gem of a lake. I was greatly surprised. There aren't as many fish in here and the action wasn't as great as some of the other high mountain lakes I've been to, but the size, quality, and feistiness of these fish more than make up for the lack of them. I was told by other fisherman today that there are also brown trout and mackinaw in there, but I didn't care. 9/21/03 Mark Stennes
I made the 3 1/4 mile hike to Eight Mile Lake today
with the hopes of finding some good fishing and with
luck, tying into one of the lake trout (mackinaw) that
are reputed to be there.
There is an 1100 foot elevation gain to the lake, most
of it in the first and last half miles. Overall
though, it's not too bad of a hike. The trail was
brushy in places because of a forest fire that
occurred several years ago, but the reddish-purple
fireweed, lavender asters, and other flowers along the
way made for some nice scenery.
2 1/2 miles into the hike you will find Little Eight
Mile Lake, a very small lake that is a good place for
a rest stop and a few casts. I ran into a spike mule
deer on the trail just before reaching the lake. The
deer wasn't shy, standing just 15 yards from me before
slowly ambling off into the brush. At the little lake
itself I was amazed to see a mother grouse and one of
her brood come within two feet of where I was standing
on a log as they fed on leaves and berries below me.
You know, these things never, ever, happen to me
during hunting season!
The main lake is pretty large, probably a mile long.
I worked my way from the outlet along the south shore
for a couple of hours. I caught over a half a dozen
small cut-bow tout, none of which topped six inches.
It was kind of amusing at first catching them on a
Royal Wulff fly with a casting bubble or with a
spinner, but I soon became disappointed in not seeing
any fish larger than what I was catching (or more
often, hooking and losing).
Just as I was about to write off the possibility of
catching any real fish, I had a hard strike and a deep
bend on my fishing rod. The fish on the other end of
my light trout rod fought hard until I could finally
bring it in some five minutes later. I was happy to
see it was a thick bodied, 16 inch, lake trout, the
first one I have ever had the pleasure of catching.
After admiring him for a moment in the water, I
slipped the barbless hook from him and released him.
I concentrated on working the drop off between the
shallow and deep water after that and a few minutes
later was rewarded with another hook up with a similar
sized mackinaw. This one, however, slipped the hook
about 20 seconds into the fight. After a few more
casts it was unfortunately time to leave and hike back
to the trailhead.
The trailhead to Eight Mile Lake can be reached from
Leavenworth by traveling the Icicle River Road apx 8
miles to the Bridge Creek Campground. Turn left onto
the road and travel (slowly) three miles to the
trailhead. Don't forget to bring your Forest Service
Parking Permit. Count on an hour and a half to two
hours on the way in and about an hour and a quarter to
an hour and a half on the way back out. If you plan
on spending the night, you will need to register in
advance through Reservations NW or the USFS Ranger
Station in Leavenworth. 08-09-01 John Kruse