"Gods Country". That's what you will be thinking after hiking into the marvelous high lakes of the Wallowa mountains. Starting at 6 miles all the way up to 15 there is a lake for all ages. However don't let all this beauty take your attention to long for there is fish to be caught.
The "High Lakes" in the Eagle Cap Wilderness are full of some of the best brook trout around, with some rainbows to be found. Plan on eating them - nothing better. Take a selection of flies, including some small sz 16/18 dries and nymphs, wooly buggers of all varieties are also a sure bet. Some lakes have so many fish that a wide variety of larger flies will also work.
The high lakes hold some of the best brook trout around, with some rainbows to be found. If your willing to put in the work, there are astonishing numbers of fish to be had. Nothing beats a brook trout dinner in the Eagle Cap Wilderness after a long day.
High Lakes / Wilderness Fishing Reports:
8/16/19: Mostly small brookies (feel free to keep plump little 5” trout for breakfast AND for dinner). Some of the better lakes are Anaroid, Ice, Razz, Fraizer, and others.
ODFW has also stocked Rainbows in some lakes (preferably lakes without brook trout). After several years some of these Bows have reached 16” or more and several pounds. The list they gave me includes: Francis, Legore, Hawk, Swamp, Prospect, Unit, and Hobo. Some of these lakes are very difficult to reach, and even more difficult to find on Google Maps.
7/29/19: We believe all the lakes are free of snow and ice. Plan to eat the small brook trout you catch (plump 5” trout - upwards). Also fish the streams in and out of the lakes. Carry a few small #18 parachute adams - if they are being fussy.
7/10/19: WE have but a few reports, but someone reported hiking into Ice Lake and said the lake had finally thawed (some ice near the edge. We need reports from the Lake Basin.
6/24/19: We need a report on snow/trail conditions - please.
9/1/18: Fall fishing has really turned on in the high lakes - expected to continue until the snow flies.
7/26/18: Fishing quality will depend on the lake. Brookies are great eating (5" plump fish are fair game - cook in bacon grease with a pinch of Mediterranian lawry's salt). Pick huckleberries on the way up to put in your pancakes. Note: fry your bacon, cook your pancakes, then fry your fish - in that order.
Some of the better high lakes for fish include: Aneroid, Ice, Francis, Frazier, Razz, Chimney & nearby Hobo, Moccasin (east end OR down the steep canyon stream below) - and others I think of in the moment.
And then if you are a mule/mountain goat cross, ODFW have stocked the following lakes with rainbow that have gotten quite large: Legore, Hawk, Swamp, Prospect, Unit, (note mules cannot get to a number of these lakes - and good luck finding them)!
6/6/18. Still pretty early for High Lake trails to be open - check with USFS. One hiker did cross some snow last week and reach Ice Lake. He reported the ice was starting to break-up and a few fish were dimpling the surface.