When: Opens last Saturday in April-closes Oct. 31. Besting fishing in May, early June and September.
Where: North-Central Washington’s Okanogan County, north of Loomis. North of Tonasket on Hwy. 97, at Ellisford turn west, cross the OkanoganRiver, turn south on Hwy. 7, west on Loomis Road, passing SpectacleLake. North of Loomis and just south of Palmer Lake south of Palmer Lake turn onto Toates Coulee Road. Chopaka Grade Road angles in from the right. You can’t miss it---it’s the scar angling up the steep hill above the cattle ranches, etching a mile of road into a steep hillside and delivering a view of the valley usually enjoyed by passengers in small airplane, but without the air pockets.
Headquarters: Fishing, motel accommodations, fuel and food supplies in Tonasket and Oroville on Hwy. 97. Primitive DNR campground at the lake is recommended, and there are picnic shelters and a decent WDFW small boat ramp.
Useful Fly Patterns: Chopaka May is the lake’s namesake dry, but also carry a selection of other spinnerfall mayfly patterns, blue damsels, dark caddis, midges, Griffith’s Gnats, hoppers. Also, No. 14-16 Callibaetis Cripples, gray Comparaduns, and Sparkle Duns, Flashabou callibaetis nymphs and Pheasant Tails nymphs. For really down and dirty work include black, green and red blood worms, Woolly buggers, Carlton General, and assorted small leeches. Chironomid standby is the CDC, but pack a variety and fish two at a time.
Necessary Accessories: Bring a rowboat, pontoon boat or belly boat in that order. Oars are recommended because it can blow here. Pack plenty of drinking water, and ice and arriving in a vehicle with good ground clearance takes a lot of the suspense out of potholes. Polaroid glasses are a must, sunscreen, broad brim hat.If you need it, bring it—there is nothing available at the lake.