Thanks to Sam Parker for this excellent report on Diamond Lake.
The Urban Dictionary defines the metaphor a diamond in the rough as “someone or something that has hidden exceptional characteristics and or future potential, but currently lacks the final touches that would make them truly stand out from the crowd.” Diamond Lake, as a fly fishing destination, fits that definition nicely.
Rick Bocko and I decided to venture back to Diamond Lake this past weekend for a second year in a row armed only with fly rods. Last year, we experienced culture fish shock as we were only a handful of fisherman with fly rods and practically the only boat not anchored up in one spot for the entire day. Rick and I were the odd couple, ducking and weaving in and out of boats weighed down with buckets of Powerbait. We did well, very well with our two fly rigs being slowly trolled behind the boat. Not only were we catching a lot of fish, but the quality of fish did not seem to be affected by our curious fishing methods.
Arriving late Friday afternoon, we dumped the boat in the water and proceeded to the south end of the lake as we were being chased down by thundering squall. Trolling Diamond Lake Specials with a trailing March Brown emerger, Rick quickly took five fish to my one. It was a good start to the weekend.
Saturday morning fishing proved to be a real test for whether or not Rick and I would return to Diamond for a third year running. Fishing was horrible not only for the oddball fly fisherman, but also for our fellow Bubbas. Keeping us entertained was the awesome beauty of the surrounding peaks and the epic chironomid hatches that made it challenging to breathe.
Breaking for lunch, Rick and I brainstormed how to improve our fishing prowess. Shifting our thinking from trying to figure out where the fish are (face it, there’s fish everywhere in Diamond) to where on the lake would our curious gear work best proved to be the game changer. We headed for the northwest corner of the lake. Depth: 4-12 feet. Habitat: Bull rushes lining the shore with a strip of clear bottom that leads into “weedage”. There is no other spot on the lake quite like this spot. Armed with Carey Specials, Black Wooley Buggers, Diamond Lake Specials trailed by March Brown and Timberline emerger patterns we hammered it and hammered it hard. The fish were impressive and at times fought just as well as their river brethren. The takes were powerful and at times startling.
Diamond Lake is certainly not known for its fly fishing opportunities. It is a meat fishery on an epic scale. However, if you are looking for a lake with beautiful surroundings, located relatively close to Eugene, can easily accommodate the family, and where a fly rod works well then I cannot think of many more lakes that offer what Diamond is able to offer.