I’m sure I’m not the only UW student who likes kicking back in front of a beautiful, sandy beach with a cold beer and fishing rod in my hand. After all, this is the ultimate summer scenario. Lucky for us, not only does the Pacific Northwest have some of the most beautiful scenery around, but the fishing is also top-notch.
Whether your plans take you to Eastern or Western Washington, rest assured that there’s a fishing hole with your name on it. To make your plans a little easier, I’ve compiled some of the best fishing spots on both sides of the Cascades, all for your outdoor pleasure.
1. Lake Chelan
Lake Chelan is a famous northwest destination nestled north of Wenatchee. The largest natural lake in Washington, Chelan’s fishing season is year-round. Every year, stocks of Kokanee and Chinook salmon, as well as rainbow trout, are released into the lake. This provides fishers with an opportunity to take home some of the tastiest salmon Washington has to offer. On a side note, Lake Chelan tends to get overly crowded during the busy summer season, so consider going in mid to late September, when school is back in session.
2. Riffe Lake
Located near Highway 12 and the city of Mossyrock, Riffe Lake is a reservoir formed by the Mossyrock Dam. The location makes it an easy drive from Tacoma at about two hours. There are Coho and Chinook Salmon, as well as small mouth bass and brown trout. The lake itself is over 13 miles long, providing plenty of possible spots to set up shop for a long day of fishing. If you’re interested in staying the night, I’d suggest looking into Taidnapam State Park, located at the east end of the lake.
3. Clear Lake
Clear Lake is within Thurston County, about an hour away from Tacoma. Although it’s only open from April to October 31st, there is still plenty of time to fish for the lake’s many rainbow trout and Kokanee Salmon. There is a public boat launch at the south end of the lake. Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests using a bobber or trolling lure to best catch rainbow trout.
4. Drano Lake
Famous for its salmon and steelhead trout, Drano Lake is located west of White Salmon. It is a bet of a trek at about three hours away, right on the state line with Oregon. The lake itself was created by the Bonneville dam and is the mouth of the Little White Salmon River. Late May and early July are fantastic times to visit this lake, but keep in mind that it tends to get crowded as the summer season goes on. The lake is expected to have a big year with over 20,000 Chinook salmon returning this spring.