Find coveted fishing lakes in Washington with this quick guide to fishing in The Evergreen State. Ross Lake is one of the most easily-accessible areas in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex.
Nestled in the sweeping alpine landscape, Ross Lake is a sparkling blue beauty that will take your breath away! Amid the numerous wildlife in the national park, there are at least twenty-eight species of fish in Ross Lake.
In addition to an amazing day of fishing, be sure to watch out for wildlife bask in the natural beauty of the area! The park has a grassy picnic area, sun shelters, lots of trees, and a boat launch.
Billy Clamp Lake is home to many species of fish, including Walleye, Rainbow trout, and Knee. The resort is also right on the bank of the world-renowned Soap Lake, which has the highest natural mineral count in the world.
However, with so many nearby fishing lakes to choose from, it’s a great way to end your day with a relaxing mud bath or mineral soak in the natural spa waters! Whether you have an appetite for salmon, perch, walleye, tuna or trout, you can plan to snag your favorite catch in Washington’s rivers and lakes.
On a brisk October day on the Chevalier River, the banks on either side are dressed in bright yellow leaves, and the water below is full of migrating coho salmon. Carl Burke, who has been fishing in Washington for longer than I’ve been alive, is spin-casting from a jet boat into the brush at the water’s edge where coho salmon like to hide.
I’ve hooked dozens of logs and branches already, each time imagining the tug to be a fish, yanking my rod with a jolt of adrenaline, only to realize my catch’s definite lifelessness. As the morning fog lifts, it’s beyond pleasant drifting past pines clinging to rocky islands like overgrown bonsai.
We’ve been keeping our eyes trained on the rods, and finally one jumps up, giving the fish at its end away. The rush of snagging a fish from Washington’s waters doesn’t seem easily diminished; each catch is as heady as the last.
Westport, on the Pacific Coast, lures with the opportunity to fish deep waters and haul in Chinook and coho salmon, as well as albacore tuna, halibut, rock fish and ling cod. The state boasts thousands of low land and alpine lakes as well as hundreds of miles of marine coastline which are perfect for a fishing adventure.
This lake holds dozens of fish species ranging from rainbow trout, small and large mouth bass, perch, and seasonal opportunities for catching Chinook, coho, and steel head salmon. There is good fishing all year round, but the best time for bass and trout are in the summer months.
The tributaries such as the Cowling and Panama rivers are a good bet for fishing below the Bonneville Dam. This 130-mile-long lake which was created after the construction of the Grand Coulee dam is a fishing paradise in eastern Washington.
With over 660 miles of shoreline, choose from over 35 National Park Service run recreation areas, and search for rainbow trout, knee, walleye, and small mouth bass which are the star attractions in the lake. Lake Roosevelt is a true gem of the northwest, with beautiful mountain and forest scenery.
Without a doubt, high lakes' trout fishing is one of Washington's premier recreational opportunities. DFW manages dozens of wildlife areas around the state, many of which offer public access and serve as key parts of the department's conservation efforts.
Whether we are targeting giant rainbows or chunky browns, Washington State has an abundance of opportunities for huge trout. Every year, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks hundreds of lakes with millions of trout.
We all dream of catching big trout that consistently blow past 20 inches and weigh several pounds or more. To sweeten the pot, big rainbow trout up to 24 inches long swim in these waters too.
Late February through March is an excellent time to hit the water if you can stand the cold. Rock Lake shifts to a decent warm water fishery as temperatures rise and the trout move deep.
In 2015, this small 151 acre lakes produced the Washington State record tiger trout that weighed in at 18.49 pounds. Each year both boat and shore anglers yard in 20 plus inch trout on a regular basis.
However, the fresh mountain air and stunning scenery makes the long drive to north central Washington worthwhile. A private resort on the west shore offers quaint cabins and partial hookups for campers.
A nice restaurant and bathroom with showers rounds out the amenities for anglers looking to spend a long weekend on the lake. Drinking water, flush toilets and a boat ramp are within easy walking distance of the campsites.
This is a lake best fished with smaller boats and electric trolling motors in order to fool these wary trout. Spring and early fall yield the best catches as trout cruise the shallows for small minnows and insects.
Troll along shallow edges that skirt deep water with minnow imitations like cranks, spoons and flies. Early morning and late evening is prime time for shoreline anglers using bait.
Lead weights measuring less than 1 and 1/2 inches are prohibited to protect the summer loons that flock to the lake. Tropical blue water and giant London cutthroat trout await the intrepid angler on a visit to Oak Lake.
This 3,244 acre gems sits within the boundary of the Colville Indian Reservation and is the largest saline lake in Washington. The high salinity of Oak Lake makes it the perfect habitat for the Lankan cutthroats that were first stocked back in 1968.
While other trout species can’t tolerate the water here, this special strain of cutthroat thrives and reaches impressive sizes. This can be purchased at most sporting good stores or the Walmart in the town of Oak and costs $10 for a one-day license.
However, shoreline access is prohibited for non-tribal members on land surrounding the lake, except for the boat launch areas. Stick to the shoreline in early spring and fall where you can expect to find large cutthroat holding near submerged rock structure in depths of 20 feet or fewer.
Fly anglers also do well with streamers that mimic small minnows and sculpting which provide prolific forage for predatory trout. Stiff winds create heavy chop so be cautious when fishing from a small craft.
As one of the most popular water recreation areas for Washington residents, you won’t be alone on this 50 mile long playground. Anglers target lake trout in deep water using down riggers all year and good fishing is expected during most of the season.
Several public boat launches are available along the southern end of the lake but shoreline fishing is extremely limited. Several resorts and plentiful cabin rentals also cater to tourists looking to enjoy a long weekend of fishing.
Most of the excitement each year is focused on the exceptional warm water fishery of bass, pan fish and walleye. Medicare Beach, along the reservoir’s east shore, is a prime starting spot for anglers looking to troll up some trout.
The area surrounding Marion Resort also boasts good trout fishing through late spring. Trolling dodger and flashers with a Wedding Ring style worm harness is a favorite.
Bank fishing for big trout is possible with sliding egg sinkers, worms and power bait. Naturally, this list below is far from exhaustive, and those with a wild hair and an affinity for hiking in the high alpine will likely discover small lakes that can’t even be spotted on a map.
From drive-in lakeside campsites to remote sub-alpine fly-fishing havens, Washington State serves up something for each type of adventurer. Enjoy the enclosed swimming area and break out into the immense 11 mile-long lake with a kayak rented on site.
It’s better for lakeside recreation than paddling or motorized boating because there are many stumps that sit close to the surface. Surrounded by glaciers, wildflowers, and jagged peaks, the intrepid visitors that make it to Lake Ann are surely rewarded for their efforts.
Leisurely activities like kayaking, fishing, and clamming abound while water skiing and windsurfing are also popular. Ross Lake is privy to a seemingly endless number of scenic, remote backcountry campgrounds.
Accessibility from North Cascades Highway makes it an excellent stop on a road trip through the area. Overnight backpackers have it best, meandering alongside gentle streams, and finally ending at Watson Lake, which sits triumphantly beneath Bacon Peak.
Just over two miles and 1,000 feet of elevation earns hikers views of open meadows, small meandering streams, and finally, the picturesque Blue Lake. Pack a picnic and enjoy it atop a large easy-to-spot boulder underneath the towering Liberty Bell Group.
Patterson Lake is a hub for boaters, kayaks, and those looking for a tranquil walk around the scenic nature trail. The ample fly-fishing excites anglers with a healthy population of large knee and yellow perch.
There are plenty of fingers, bays, hidden nooks, and small tributaries to poke around on the lake, all of which are made brighter and more beautiful by the astoundingly turquoise water. This unique lake forms in the spring with a depth from 6 to 8 feet in places during the springtime, and as the weather heats up, it disappears, leaving behind an area known as South Prairie.
It’s best enjoyed by kayak: paddle under huge cottonwood trees, amid lodge pole pine, Douglas fir, and stark white aspen.