Diamond Lake Trip Report 2023

The blog doesn’t have a lot of trip reports but I thought the fly fishing community should have a modern report on Diamond Lake.


I was recently out at Diamond Lake to do some fishing with a buddy of mine. It was a great trip that you’re here to read about, because you plan to go to Diamond too and do some fly fishing. You also know there is very little out there on the lake, as far as the internet goes, and the stuff that is out there is over 10 years old. Hopefully this will get you moving in the right direction.


First off I have to address the fact that this lake has been “killed” many times, by ODFW, in the past due to the tui chub. They are the locusts of the lake world here in the PNW and Diamond is the poster child for their invasion. The last kill was in 2006 and since then the numbers of chub have been manageable mostly because of the fish that are in the lake. The lake has a strong population of rainbow trout that are thick and healthy, but the real appeal to anglers and the dread of the chub, are the tiger and brown trout that have been stocked in large numbers as well. In 2016 they stocked the lake with 25,000 tigers to give you an idea of what kind of numbers we are talking about here. The lake also has a large population of shrimp or what most fly anglers call them, scuds. So between scuds (which are what make the fish at Jurassic Lake, Argentina so big) and the chub, the fish are thick and healthy.

The day started down on the south side of the lake. This end is shallower than the north end and has lots of weed growth because of it being one massive shoal. If you plan to fly fish this is the place to be. We left the boat ramp and focused on the south-west region. This was unfruitful. My first setup was a fast intermediate line with a blank saver, thin mint, and on point a blue-eyed damsel booby. My buddy fished a hover line with a bugger and thin mint as well. 


We then went to the south-east end of the lake to where the inlet comes into the lake. This is where I was able to pick up 2 tiger trout. I switched to my other rod which had a 5’ emerger tip fly line with a red rib diawl bach, red ice cream cone, and on point an apps worm. I got the first tiger on the apps after 2 fast strips and a pause. The way I was fishing it was to cast out and retrieve the line back so slowly the coils are still present in the line and from time to time I would give it two fast strips to bring the flies up the water column, then back to the painfully slow retrieve so they can fall back down. The other tiger ate the red rib diawl bach while the set up was stationary, rather close to the boat. It died down after that.


Then it was off to slightly deeper water to see if more fish were there. I was able to pick up a brown when switching to an indicator set up. Under the indicator I rocked a metallic pink beaded balanced thin mint, and various other nymphs and chironomids, but settled on another balanced thin mint with a gold bead because the rest of the day all my other fish were on balanced thin mints under an indicator and so were all the fish my buddy caught.


We spent the rest of the day, spot hopping, looking for active fish. The bluebird skies and lack of wind made it tough. I was able to score 4 more fish all rainbows and my buddy landed 3 more fish, 2 bows, 1 brown. We drifted, anchored, and rowed around to infrequent bites and virtually zero bugs in the throat pump samples.


The fishing day came to a close with an ant hatch with ants that ranged from 10-14 in size. Ant hatches usually involve a lot of wind and that is what happened. The wind was virtually nonexistent all day until the wind picked up to a howl. The wind was white capping out there so we called it. I did get 2 takes on the ants and they were on the bionic ant and a fat angie, but nothing landed unfortunately.


If I had a reason why the fishing wasn’t gangbusters I’d have to blame the full moon. I think the extra light at night allows more active nocturnal feeding. Then during the day the fish feel less motivated to eat. The bright sun and no wind makes it challenging too. If we had a mild breeze or cloud cover I think we would’ve broken 30 fish to the net.

The lake feels incredibly productive and really under-fished. If you add up all the personal watercraft and include paddle boards and float tubes there might have been 12 total fly anglers on the water the whole day and maybe another 5 gear guys fishing as well. Even though fishing was tough, I was proud of us for doing what looked like the best on the lake. We only saw one other fish landed by a kid trolling gear at one point. That being said I think Diamond Lake is a place more fly anglers should target for fishing. There is a resort with lodging, boat rentals, and a restaurant that I’ve been told is pretty good for being the only game in town. Plus when it is hot the bugs are everywhere, the fish are mean and fight well, and allegedly there are close to 250,000 fish in the lake so you’re bound to bump into a couple no matter the conditions.


All fishing took place on 6/3/23 from 6:30am – 3:00 pm

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