- June to September
Martin Lake provides some of the best fishing on the District, with large runs of sockeye and coho salmon. Cutthroat/rainbow trout hybrids, and lots of Dolly Varden are also present.
The outlet stream has some deep pools and glides where fish migrating into the lake will concentrate. The sockeye and coho salmon are in their best condition there, since they’re coming up the river from the ocean. The inlet streams at the southern end of the lake and some of the other streams coming down from the hills provide some good fishing too, but the salmon may not be as bright (silvery) or as good to eat.
The sportfishing regulations for the Martin Lake area prohibit the harvest of the cutthroat/rainbow trout hybrids, so you have to release them. These fish have black spots and usually don ’t get much bigger than 18-20 inches. These fish may closely resemble pure cutthroats or pure rainbows.
The Dolly Varden are much more abundant (limit of 10), and if you’re looking for dinner, they cook up just like a trout. Dolly Varden, like brook trout and lake trout, are actually char – a very close relative of trout. Dolly Varden have white or pink spots and get up to 24 inches.
Dolly Varden are also quite eager to hit spinners and almost any type of wet fly you can tie. Even a novice fly fisherman, writing a travel article for the New York Times, reported catching more than his fill of Dolly Varden near the schools of sockeye. The Dolly Varden follow the salmon to eat stray eggs or any invertebrates the salmon kick up out of the gravel when they dig their egg nests. So if you see salmon, there will be some Dolly Varden too.
The lake lies at the foot of the Ragged Mountains, where you can see mountain goats. Of course, with all of the fish in the streams, there are plenty of bears. Access to the lake is by float plane only.
There is a Forest Service cabin on the lake, (Martin Lake Cabin), with a rowboat available. The boat is rather large and the lake is long, so you may wish to rent a 15hp or 25hp motor in Cordova.
There is only catch and release fishing for cutthroat and rainbow trout in this area. For more information call the Cordova Ranger District at (907) 424-7661.