McKenzie Pass Alpine Lakes July 2019


Looking at a map of the Mt. Washington Wilderness Area you’ll notice a bunch of different lakes connected by lots of trails including the PCT, a trail that use to pass by my front door. I worked along this trial in the high Sierra while chasing beautiful, high-country rainbow, brown, brook, and golden trout. Some days a grand-slam!

My dog and I love fishing these beautiful Central Oregon wilderness lakes for rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout with dry flies. So we set out in the morning and began going to as many lakes as we could. Some lakes had plentiful trout. Some I wasn’t sure if trout existed. But we sure had fun in this radical place. In such a pristine area we ask that you practice Leave No Trace and pack it in – pack it out! These places depend on us and as fishers, I believe we should hold a higher caliber for ourselves when it comes to LNT and be stewards of the land we love to fish.


It felt good to be in the mountains even though I saw people getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. Yes, they are out in full force along with the bear grass bloom.

The day fishing reminded me of my days learning to fly fish on the Dana Fork. Really tight cast with trees and wind working against you, but fish willing to take just about anything you give them. Cover lots of water and let the wind drift your fly when it can. I caught brook trout, but another gentleman was having success catching cutthroat.


I brought along my 4wt. trout rod (I’d bring a 3wt if you have it) and used Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, and Mosquitoes. Though these fish may not be the biggest, because of the short season at this elevation and lack of food, they’ll take almost anything given a good presentation. I’d try Stimulators, Royal Wulff Patterns, Ants, Alpine Emergers too. Streamers would have been fun.


July has begun and I hope you have a great Fourth of July. Be careful with fire and check fire restrictions, because I’ve noticed lots of restrictions in place. Be prepared for mosquitoes!!!

Tight Lines,


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