March 16 Lewie-Lewie (ain’t no sad song)

Lewiston Lake
Land Locked Steelhead.

Recently we had a few days off and no better way to take a break from the daily rigors than research other favorite waters. Where do local boys go stretch a line late-winter/spring? No brainer—Lewiston Lake. This rich and fertile tailwater supports educated, well fed trout populations and generally fires up late winter early spring. Trout populations are unique and vary; colorful diverse strains that have been planted, some holding over and on the fatten-up, to native silvery chrome, Land Locked steelhead varieties that have successfully reproduced since the inception of Trinity-Lewiston dams. Much like steelhead, (they appear to be distant descendants), they are the ultimate tailwater challenge; selective, well proportioned, turbo charged and literally capable of taking you for a ride.

Fly fishing Lewiston Lake
Chad Sayre-
smiles of success.

Our visit to the lower lake revealed the glassy waters of Lewiston was going off and its fishery very much alive and on schedule. The rainy conditions triggered intense late morning/early afternoon midge hatches throughout the entire lower lake. After a brief observation and developing our game plan we boated out to the areas of activity (wade fished and from the craft) and targeted our quarry with tender gear. Light /med. action 5/6wt. Beulah rods, 12ft. leaders-6X tippits.

Lewiston Lake
Lewiston Lake line-up.

Hatch matching on Lewiston Lake, fishing the midge, is always a chore and imperative to success. Lewiston fish generally begin grazing on emerging pupas in the deeper water columns and as the hatch progresses and intensifies they key in on the upper water columns as well as the surface. Over the years we have discovered flats supporting vegetation that slowly transition into main channel waters are prime early season midge waters. Hands down the best pupa imitation was Chris Burton’s locally fashioned and tied CB Pupa (#16). Early, this fished well deep on an intermediate Clear-Camo sinking line. As midge hatches progressed we targeted the upper water columns and the CB pupa produced best when slowly stripped on a floating line. Peak hatch provided a few brief flurries of exciting in-the-film surface opportunities. Our locally fashioned and tied Poly-back Emerger (#18) fished well and turned the heads of some stubborn slabs. For the new comer—simply take the time to check it out. Close observations will most often reveal, bug activity, trout behavior and cruse patterns.

Lewiston Lake Rainbow
Chris B-using what
else-CB Pupa.

Early season midge fishing on Lewiston Lake is a very tender and challenging affair. Fishing can be down right difficult along with unstable weather patterns, complex hatches, selective trout and accepting the light tippit/small bug challenge. You either love it or hate it. It’s all about timing, and the bugs—understanding midge hatch cycles and targeting promising waters with appropriate fly selections. Those who successfully fish Lewiston have learned to appreciate this unique tailwater and quickly realize it is much more than an option.