Ebey Lake

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Dryguy, Mar 26, 2002.

  1. One of our favorite spring fishing lakes has been Ebey over the years. The last time I tried to get in there was a new gate on the road several hundred yards below the original gate. Does anyone know of a back way into the lake, I don't mind a bit of excercise getting in there-that was one of the things I liked about the lake. For that matter is the fishing worth it, I did run into the game warden one day as I was leaving and he said the state was no longer doing any stocking of the lake. Appreciate any info.
  2. To my knowledge there is no back way into the lake. I have heard about this lake over the years and tried to get into it a couple years back but also ran into the gate. I heard that this used to be a great lake that was cut off when local's made a sweetheart deal w\ the state in which it is stated that the dirt road going in can only be used for "logging purposes".

    I talked w\ Les Johnson at Patrick's Flyshop a few weeks back and he said that he was going to look into chalenging this. From what I understand the lake and the road itself is public property. I would be interested in trying to get back in there myself. Les said he thought there were a couple streams feeding the lake that allowed for natural reproduction.

    Does anyone else out there have additional info on this lake or why this gate was allowed to be out up?
  3. This is a reply to my post on the flyshop BB:

    The road to Ebey has been closed for about three years now by a gate that was installed by property owners. The lake itself lies on state DNR property, but the lower part of the road apparently crosses a belt of privately owned land. The DNR forester for that area told me that there was an easement but that the "easement was was only to allow the DNR or its designees to carry out logging".

    Prior to the installation of the gate by property owners, the road was open to the edge of DNR property, where there was locked gate to prevent dumping and timber theft. From that gate, it was a nearly three mile walk on good gravel roads to the lake (there was also some sort of car access to within about a hundred yards of the west side of the lake, apparently via a logging road, but I was never able to track it down).

    The lake has been fly fishing only for as long as I can remember (at least for the last fifty years) and has a self-sustaining population of coastal cutthroat. It was originally used as a log pond when the area was first logged, and covered a relatively small area, but beavers dammed the outlet (Hell Creek, which drains to the North Fork of the Stillaguamish) and increased its size considerably. Local vandals dynamited the beaver dam at some time in the 'sixties and the Game Department replaced it with a concrete structure to stabilize the lake level. The main pond is still the only part of the lake deep enough to fish in, the rest being very shallow and clogged with stumps, snags and downed trees. It does, however provide excellent bug habitat.

    When the lake was still accessible it was, unfortunately, poached quite a bit, as evidenced by the empty jars of salmon eggs and styrofoam bait containers one always seemed to find. In spite of that, it usually provided good (sometimes excellent) fishing with dark, but colorful and feisty cutthroat up to twenty inches. There were excellent hatches of midges, Callibaetis, damselflies and dragonflies; all in all, too good a lake to lose.

    Ebey was always a unique place to me. Because of the extra effort required to get to it and its relative isolation, it always seemed to be the prototype of the little lake lost in the cutover country. I rarely saw anyone else there, and to spend a day with the blooming buckbean, swamp laurel and Greenland tea, while the swallows and nighthawks swooped and soared overhead was always a special experience.

    I do believe that we need to mount a campaign to restore public access to Ebey, to harass the DNR and the WDFW until something is done. It might be difficult in this time of straitened budgetary resources and it might take more than a little time, but it needs to be done.
  4. Amen brother! I used to fish that lake a lot in the early 90s when you could drive to the regular pull out that put you an honest 1/4 mile from the lake. It was rare to have more than one other party there with you. Unfortunately, half the time that other party consisted of baiters that always said "Oh, we didn't know it was fly fishing only." I know some of them were lying because it was the second or third time I had told them! Man, I hit a spinner fall there one evening that I will never forget. Caught a bunch of red-hot 2 year rainbows. Now that I think about it, that was probably the last batch of rainbows planted as the next year the DNR gate went up. Also loved casting damsel dries in the stumps to the monster (a 20" cutt is a monster, I don't care where he's caught) cutts. I also recall losing some #6 caddis on 4X tippet in the dark. I'd love to know what did that!
    :THUMBSUP I'm all for putting pressure on the DNR to get public access in there. I would prefer using one (I know there are some there) of the back roads and not the regular road. Those folks scared me before they were mad. I can just imagine what might happen if a bunch of us fly fisherman opened it up. I wouldn't drive my new vehicle up there, that's for sure.
  5. I've been there a total of twice. The first time I was there we had to park at the bottom and hike to the lake. Fished but for a first time fly fisher did no good. The second time I went there I drove all the way up. I wasn't fishing just looking. I saw three guys pulling a boat thru the woods and they had spinning rods sticking out of there boat.
    There used to be some old structures up there but there are probly gone by now.
    It sure is a pretty little lake and I would like to go back at least one more time.
    One more note.Out of Granite Falls heading to Arlington on the Jordon Road there are a series of ponds off of Russian road. I hiked up there once and it was a long way. Would like to know if anybody else knows anything or are they a zipper lip spot.Jim S. :COOK
  6. For those of you on here may remember I was on a mission last year to try and find out why we didn’t have access to Ebey L. anymore. I will share some of what I found out. Yes, the lake is on DNR land, this however does not guarantee access though. The biggest problem is the main road up to the DNR gate is privately owned, thus the gate is legal. There was an alternate road off of the main one near the power lines but this was a temporary easement for logging the south end of the lake. What I thought was weird was the WDFW still shows this lake in the regs pamphlet. They say they can’t do anything about the gate. The DNR gate you used to be able to drive up to was installed because of vandalism to the out house and all the trash at the lake. This lake has not been stocked by the WDFW as someone stated above. It was stock by the local fly fishing club by back packing them in. I had heard that they were supplied by the WDFW though. I can appreciate trying to get this lake back open to all but it will be a battle against the property owners, not the state, DNR or WDFW. I have already written letters and got the big run-around from agency to agency. Even after all that, I can tell you there is NO one you can call that will give you the answer your looking for. At this point I have pretty much given up. I thought about trying to contact the property owner that is in control of the gate to see if he will let us have access through some agreement ($$$). The only other thing that might be able to do is buy some property above the gate, then you have the right through easements to gain access. Maybe as a fly fishing group or club, some of us got together, we might be able to buy a small piece of property right next to the DNR gate. Make some parking places and even a small area to camp if you wanted too. It would probably be cheaper than trying to fight the land owners in the courts.
    Jim J.
  7. Wishin,

    Of course, there could be a thousand things that could get in the way, but that's so crazy it might just work! Great idea! Way to use your noggin.
  8. I'd be interested in helping/participating in such a "purchase" of land. Keep us posted. As Ray points out it just might get results. After all "crazy" is only separated from "creative" by a few pages in the dictionary! :WINK
  9. OK, I will do a bit more research, since I really would like to see people get access again. My wife just happens to work at a title company, so I can get things that would otherwise cost a bunch. I can try and find out who/whom owns the land next to the DNR gate up above the private gate. If it is possible to find out, then you'd have to figure out how to sub-divide it to get a small piece, wouldn't take much, all you need is a deed and the right of way comes with it. I will keep all informed as to anything I find out. Personally, I'd like to see the land put in a living trust so access would always be there, for future generations. I would put money's towards that. This way no one would own it and it could never be taken away again!!! Don't get your hopes up to high though, its a good idea so far, that's all, no promise's, OK? It would take a lot more that just a couple people on a chat board to pull this off.
    Jim J.
  10. OK, I'm interested. Sounds a bit like the articles I've read about the nature conservancy. They might have some ideas. I've never been to Ebey but I'd probably walk that road with the right two or three others. :DEVIL Flyfisher Frank
  11. The only bad thing about the walk is it is all up hill. But the good thing is that it's down hill on the way back. Just a bit of stupid humor. Jim S :BIGSMILE
  12. There is a little lake off of Jordan road called King lake we use to fish up there a lot in the 60's and 70's, full of little brookies. If you went all the way to the end of the lake and took to the woods you could find a slight trail that went about a half mile or so to another little pond called mud lake (I think that's what it's called) anyway that was full of the prettiest cutts you ever saw. Kinda swampy but quite and isolated. On the hike up to King lake if you went up the first little creek you came to you would find a series of beaver ponds that had cutts. Also the longest beaver dam I ever saw was up there, must have been a hundred yards long not to high but it was an engineering marvel in the beaver world. Sad thing now is that it's all been developed, I really doubt that the beavers are still there or that you can even get in there anymore.
  13. I don't think that there is any access anymore to get in there. The ponds that I was talking about were off the Russian Road. But when I went there there were no houses there but there is now. So I think that access is blocked off. It was on the top of the hill and it was about a two mile walk to get there. Jim S.
  14. Ebey is one of my favorites. Well... was, I guess. Quiet, un-crowded, and a fun place to fish. I haven't fished it for 7 years, and was surprised to read these postings. Not sure how I could help, but I would be willing to pitch in to obtain unrestricted access. Until that happens, you'll see me making the long walk up and down the hill, float tube on my back.
  15. Hi, I used to fish ebey but it was many years ago, There was another backroad into ebey I found it once and had to use a 4x4 to get in there but I was able to drive right up to the lake. When you used to walk the 1/4 mile in the other road came in almost directly across from it.

  16. Gary,

    I also recall several roads leading into there, but save the Ebey Mtn. road to the lake, I never explored any of the other roads. The maps I have do not show any other access. Do you recall how you got to it? I should be up in the area this weekend, picking up a dog, and I plan to do some exploring. Any helpful hints would save the wear and tear on the 4x4 suspension or my knees.
  17. I believe the road you are talking about is a logging road that takes off to the east just past the houses on the south side of the mountain. Let us know if you find a way in. The road that leds off to the the NW at the power lines has a big No Trespassing sign on it. If you go up that road it looks like you'll need the 4X4. Good luck.
    Jim J.
  18. It has been many many years since I was back in there, I would not try to go in there without a winch or another rig. As I remember it you came to a road on the left, I believe it went up and around as soon as you turned onto it, you went up that road for a little was and the road to ebay was on the right, but the problem is it did not look like a road, that the opening it was a good sized mud hole and one you got past that it turned into a road kind of, at points it was only a trail, we were into 4 wheeling back then, and didn't care about scratching our rigs. There was a tree across the road and a tall vechicle could not go under it. There was a tree buried in the road that made it like a step up that was kind of hard to get over. These days I don't know if the opening could even be found. I was thinking of going up there and looking but I would not try that road with out another 4x4 along. If I remember right I found the road because I had to pee, and went up there and found the road so we went looking for it. I believe the easyiest way to find it would be for a couple rigs to go in and somebody go to the lake and find the road and try to walk out then you could mark the entrance. maybe have a phone and then catch a ride back. I think that would be fun. Anybody interested?

  19. Gary,

    I.... think not. Digging out a stuck 4x4 is not how I prefer to spend my weekends. Guess I'll make the long walk from the gate, try not to be too obvious in my trespass, and see what is up there.
  20. Sofar I have been lucky, never had to dig out yet, but I have always had a winch. One of these days I'll go up there and check it out.


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