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Hosmer Lake - Spectacular Beauty in the Shadow of Bachelor

As the chain of Cascade Lakes descends, none would be prettier than Hosmer Lake. A relatively small body of water for fly fishing, this lake is huge in reputation, beauty, and lore. For almost five decades she’s been best known as a stillwater with an abundant population of Atlantic salmon, which were introduced in 1957. The stocking program continued until two years ago. Now, Hosmer Lake is being populated with cutthroat and rainbow trout, including some triploids, and they seem to be thriving. There are also large brook trout to pursue.

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The Inside Scoop

Hosmer Lake is a “Fly Fishing Only” fishery. There is no bait allowed. And while trolling motors are welcome, none can be used while actually fishing. The lake is open to fishing year ‘round, however, road and ramp access can be questionable early and late in the season. Check with us here at Fly & Field Outfitters for the latest road conditions, or check out our seasonal Hosmer fly fishing reports for updates and tips.

Hosmer Lake covers nearly 200 acres, has an average depth of only three feet, and lies at nearly 5000 feet above sea level. It is naturally fed by snowmelt off the southern flanks of Mt. Bachelor, whose summit rises dramatically above Hosmer’s shores. Hosmer Lake has, for good reason, become a destination for recreational use during the warm summer months. Therefore on any given day from June to September, there can be a substantial stand-up paddle and kayak “hatch”. While this may perturb some anglers, the knowledgeable ones will simply concentrate on the Tule grass-rich shorelines where the fish cruise for damsels, callibaetis, and caddis. To avoid the now infamous stand-up hatch, fish early and late; that’s when the fish are most active anyway.

Hosmer Lake is one that will equally captivate and frustrate. Its beauty and abundant birds and wildlife are encompassing. The massive, ancient volcanoes stand sentinel over her gin-clear waters. And in those waters…. The trout just cruise around, all day every day. You can see them. You can almost reach out and grab them! There are times when the fish rise enthusiastically all around and won’t eat a fly in your box. There are times when you can watch them stare at your fly for ten long seconds before finning casually away. These are trout that are tuned into their environment and must be respected as such.

FAQ’s About Hosmer Lake Fly Fishing

We love early and late in the season. These dates will move year to year based on what kind of winter we’ve had and how early the cold days of fall descend. Most years by May the road is open and the stand-up paddle “hatch” hasn’t begun yet. All the way till mid-June the lake should be relatively uncrowded and the fish will hungry after the long winter. Then in mid-September the crowds disperse and the fish get very active again. But even in the dead of summer if you get up there early and works the tules or get through the channel to the back lake you can find some serenity and good fishing for the morning hatches. Then, in the evening there can be blizzards of mayfly and midge and really active fish right until dark.
We recommend having a couple rods handy, if that’s possible. At any point up there you might want to change back and forth between a dry or dry/dropper set up and a deeply sunken presentation. There are big brook trout that cruise the bottom looking for emerging chironomids and callibaetis. The rainbow and cutthroat tend to be focused on food as it nears the surface. And rod from 3wt to 6wt will suffice up there. An intermediate sinking like can be an asset but is not required.
Typically we see solid chironomid and callibaetis through the summer months. There is also caddis, which come and go in intensity. The lake is home to leeches also. We like to be armed with a good selection of ice cream cone and Yankee Buzzer chironomids as well as all stages of lifecycle for callibaetis from Mercer’s nymph to cripples, duns and spinners. Additionally, we want to have some bugger in olive and really flashy yellows and reds for the cutthroat. Ruby Leeches in black and red are also effective when fished on an intermediate line.

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Here at Fly & Field Outfitters, our fishing guides are on the water 7 days a week and we always have the most up to date intel on Hosmer Lake. Effective techniques can and will vary day to day. If you’d like to pick our brains about what’s working up there or book a float trip on the Cascade Lakes, we are here to help you unlock some of Hosmer Lake’s closely held secrets. Call us at 1-866-800-2812 for more information.

Directions to Hosmer Lake