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Merrill Lake Outing (Mini-Fishouts Thursday Evenings in July & August)
- Each summer, CSF members meet on Friday evenings between 7:00 and 8:00 PM at the Merrill Lake launch ramp to fish the famous Hexagenia mayfly hatch. This lovely fly-fishing-only lake is perched just north of Cougar on FR 81, which leads to the Kalama Horse Camp and to the south side of Mount St. Helens. Float tubes, kick boats or canoes are a must on this body of water; boats with electric motors are permitted.
- IMPORTANT: once the sun goes down behind the mountains, this lake gets DARK, so a light is a must. To keep your hands free, a headlamp is highly recommended.
- The giant Hexagenia mayfly is about an inch long and looks like a floating hummingbird on the water. The hatch starts around 9:00 PM and can last between 15 minutes and a couple of hours. On some occasions, the hatch can last until 10:30 or11:00 PM. Large yellow/tan dry flies, emergers, and nymphs should all work at some time during the hatch. If you don't tie, most fly shops in the area carry some hex patterns. I recommend a 5 or 6 weight rod with a 3X tippet on the end of your leader. The trout have been known to rip off many flies. Bill Brown landed a 24" brown about four years ago, and I have heard tales of even bigger browns being landed. It's nighttime fly-fishing at its best.
|Hex Nymph (Brian Silvey) - 1st Choice || |
|Hook: ||TMC 200R, #4 |
||Light yellow 6/0 |
|Tail: ||3 brown dyed ostrich herl |
|Thorax and Abdomen: ||Light yellow Hare-tron ||Gills:
||(in 3 sets) root beer dyed marabou |
|Wing Case: ||Large clump of pheasant tail fibers to form shell back |
|Legs: ||Ends of wing case fibers split pulled back from legs |
||Light yellow Hare-tron with black mini plastic eyes |
|Hex Nymph - 2nd Choice || |
|Hook: ||3X long nymph, size 4 to 8. Mustad 9672, 38941; Tiemco 5263, 200R; Daiichi 1720 |
|Thread: ||Tan 6/0 Danville or 8/0 Uni-thread |
|Tail: ||Gray down from the base of a Ringneck pheasant body feather |
|Rib: ||Fine amber or light brown vinyl rib
||Thorax and Abdomen: ||Pale grayish yellow dubbing |
|Abdominal Gills: ||Gray filoplume |
|Legs: ||Partridge or grouse body feather
|Back and Wing Case: ||Dark turkey tail strengthened with Dave's Flexament |
|Hex Emerger (Mark Bachmann) - 3rd Choice || |
||TMC 200R, #8 |
|Thread: ||Light yellow 6/0 |
|Tail/Back: ||Brown Hi-Vis body length to form part of trailing shuck |
||Fine brown V-rib ||Thorax and Abdomen: ||Light yellow Hare-tron |
|Legs: ||Dyed Wood Duck mallard flank fibers |
||4 CDC feathers 1/2 body length |
|Legs: ||Ends of wing case fibers split pulled back for legs |
|Head and Eyes: ||Light yellow Hare-tron with black mini plastic eyes |
- For up-to-date information, check with the local fly shops and review the Stream Reports.
- Although the CSF Merrill Lake fish-outs are day trips, anyone wishing to camp may do so. There is a State of Wash. campground adjacent to the ramp area, DNR (Dept. of Natural Resources, S.W. region 1-800 527.3305).
- Take State Highway 503 from Battle Ground or Woodland past Yale Lake, turn left at the "Merrill Lake - 4 Miles" sign. Drive in on the new road to the boat ramp. Unload your preferred watercraft and park. Look for vehicles w/ CSF stickers or familiar faces. For details, see DeLorme's Washington Atlas and Gazetteer, page 33, D-6. Drive slowly on the road past the gate to avoid raising dust in the camping/parking area.
- To contact the outing Fishmaster, go to the Calendar page.