Reports, Trout

Lake Margaret Fishing Report – May 2016

About The Lake

Lake Margaret is located a few miles north east of Duvall, WA.  It is what I’d call a typical eastside trout lake.  Relatively small, ringed with homes with a small WDFW boat launch in one corner.

Because it is in the foothills of the Cascades it is a bit higher than many of those other lakes.  As a result it warms up a bit slower.  This can make it a good choice to fish in the summer, as the fish are still near the surface compared to the lowland lakes.  To learn more about how changing seasons impacts trout fishing, please see the Understanding Stillwater Trout series.

The WDFW plants both catchable size rainbows as a “put and catch” plan, and cutthroat smolt as a “put and grow” plan.  A typical trip for me there involves catching a mix of the two species.  The rainbow are usually the uniform hatchery size, and the cutthroat a mix of sizes from really small to on par with the rainbows.

In past years it felt to me that the lake got over planted, as the cutthroat seem stunted and the rainbows are skinny.  The good side of that is it made for great fishing, as those fish are hungry.  This made it a great place to take novice fishermen.

Because it is a bit farther out than many lakes, I feel that it gets less fishing pressure than many other lakes.

Getting Started

When my friend and I arrived at 6am there were already 2 people there fishing from the bank of the boat launch.  These guys were very courteous, fishing off the far ends of the launch – giving me plenty of room to back up and get the boat off the trailer.

We quickly got the boat in the water, and ourselves in the boat.  We had our rods already rigged up with our typical setup – a stillwater fly behind a Wiggle Fin action disc.  Since we saw fish rising we only used one split shot for weight.

With this setup we can perform catch and release fishing, both legally and ethically.  When we play a fish next to the boat we don’t remove it completely from the water, or use a net.  Instead we reach down to grab the hook, then a quick flick of the wrist the fish is then swimming off.

Once we got out away from the launch – and those other anglers – we let out about 75 feet of line and trolled around the lake.

My general trolling pattern here is to troll about 40 feet off the shoreline around the lake, and occasionally do a pass right through the middle of the lake.  As we find where the fish are that day, then I’ll modify the pattern to focus on those areas.

Fishing Was Good

My friend was immediately on fire, catching a few trout before I got a single one.  He continues to catch fish at a higher rate – all the while rubbing in that he has caught double the fish I have.  Of course he also made a point that he was doing it on flies I tied for him.

The gap was largest when I had landed 6 fish, and he had landed 13.  Eventually though I was able to maintain the pace, and even catch up a little.

The fish we caught were mostly rainbows with an occasionally small cutthroat in the mix.  We even caught a couple of holdovers that were slightly bigger than current year’s fish plant – and fought much harder.  I think something must have changed since last year, as the quality of fish was noticeable better than previous years.

Lake Margaret Cutthroat Trout
Lake Margaret Cutthroat Trout

As the morning went on, we started seeing less surface activity as the fish went a little deeper.  I was quicker to respond, adding a little more weight – which let me close the gap with my friend.

The “flats” area on the north end of the lake was one of the hot spots, like usual.  Likewise, there were a lot of fish caught in the middle of the lake.

At 9am we called it a morning, and headed back to the launch.  There were more people fishing off the bank, but fortunately they left a gap large enough for us to beach the boat, and back the trailer up.

At the end of the day my friend and I each landed a couple dozen fish each.

When we finished there was about five people fishing off shore at the launch area.  Looks like they each had caught a few fish.  Again they were courteous and left an area large enough to beach the boat and backup the trailer.

Share Your Reports

For more information about the techniques I use, and how to catch tons of trout, please check out the trout page.

Have you fished this lake?  Any favorite spots or techniques?

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