Guide To Great Fishing In Washington
All about fishing in the Evergreen State
The state of Washington offers both cold water fishing for trout and salmon as well as warm water fishing for bass, walleye, crappie, perch, catfish and more. Many of these lakes offer fishing boats for rent. Great fishing is available year round with many lakes offering ice fishing in winter.
Washington state is a fishing paradise, offering anglers a diverse range of species and fishing environments. From warm water fisheries to cold water fisheries, and from ponds to lakes and rivers, Washington has it all.
Warm water fisheries in Washington provide excellent opportunities for targeting species such as bass, walleye, panfish, and catfish. Lakes like Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, and Potholes Reservoir are known for their robust warm water fish populations. Anglers can enjoy casting their lines from boats or the shoreline, using a variety of baits and lures to entice these species. The warm summer months are especially productive for warm water fishing, as fish become more active and feed more aggressively.
Cold water fisheries in Washington offer thrilling experiences for those seeking trout and salmon. Rivers like the Yakima River and the Skagit River, as well as lakes such as Lake Chelan and Lake Wenatchee, are popular destinations for trout and salmon fishing. Whether fly fishing on the rivers or trolling on the lakes, anglers can target rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, kokanee salmon, and other cold water species. The cooler seasons, particularly spring and fall, are prime times to pursue these fish as they migrate or spawn.
Washington is also home to numerous ponds, which provide a unique fishing experience. Many ponds are stocked with trout, offering excellent opportunities for anglers of all ages to enjoy catch-and-release fishing or harvest fish for a tasty meal. These smaller bodies of water often offer easy access and a peaceful environment for anglers to hone their skills or introduce newcomers to the joys of fishing.
In addition to the variety of fishing environments, Washington's rivers are famous for their salmon runs, attracting anglers from around the world. The Columbia River, the Skagit River, and the Quinault River are just a few examples of the many rivers that offer thrilling salmon fishing opportunities. Anglers can experience the excitement of hooking into a powerful Chinook or coho salmon as they make their way upstream.
Whether you prefer warm water fishing in lakes, targeting trout in rivers, or enjoying the tranquility of fishing in a pond, Washington state has something for every angler. Its diverse range of fishing opportunities and abundant fish populations make it a premier fishing destination that promises unforgettable experiences and cherished memories on the water.
Fishing in Washington
Choose your favorite type of water as there are terrific lakes, ponds, streams and rivers all across Washington State. Here, you can fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, white catfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, golden trout, brown trout, lake trout, steelhead, bluegill, green sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, warmouth, yellow perch, Atlantic salmon, coho salmon, chum salmon, chinook salmon, pink salmon, sockeye salmon, northern pike, sturgeon and tiger muskie in local lakes, rivers, ponds and/or streams.
Major Washington Lakes & Species
Lake & Fish Chart
This chart shows the major angling destinations, cross referencing these waters with the major species to be found in each of the lakes or impoundments.
For a detailed list of primary fish species in WA, plus state fish records, see the list below.
Washington offers excellent fishing year round, enhanced by spectacular views.
Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.
Alder Lake is a 3,100-acre lake in southwest WA, 40 miles southeast of Olympia.
American Lake is a 1,100-acre lake in the western part of the state, at Lakewood.
Baker Lake is a 4,800-acre lake in the northwest corner of the state within the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Banks Lake is a 26,900-acre lake in central Washington, at Coulee City.
Cle Elum Lake is a 4,800-acre lake in central Washington, 10 miles northwest of Cle Elum.
Kachess Lake is a 4,500-acre lake in central Washington, 2 miles north of Easton.
Keechelus Lake, is a 2,600-acre lake in central Washington, 5 miles southeast of Rockdale.
Lake Bryan is a 10,000-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, at Peyton.
Lake Chelan is a 33,000-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Chelan Falls.
Lake Crescent is a 5,100-acre lake in the northwest corner of the state, 15 miles west of Port Angeles.
Lake Cushman is a 4,000-acre lake in the northwest corner of the state, 5 miles northwest of Hoodsport.
Lake Herbert G West is a 6,000-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, at Perry.
Lake Mayfield, is a 2,200-acre lake in the southwest corner of the state at Mayfield.
Lake Merwin is a 4,000-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, at Ariel.
Lake Sacajawea is a 9,000-acre lake in the southeast part of the state, at Walker.
Lake Sammamish is a 4,900-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, 5 miles east of Bellevue.
Lake Tapps is a 2,800-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, 5 miles east of Puyallup.
Lake Umatilla is a 48,000-acre lake running 110 miles along the WA/OR border, mid-state.
Lake Wallula (McNary Pool) is a 11,600-acre lake in the southeast part of the state, at Kennewick.
Lake Washington is a 22,000-acre lake in northwest Washington, at Seattle.
Lake Wenatchee is a 2,500-acre lake in the north-central part of WA, in the Wenatchee National Forest.
Lake Whatcom is a 4,900-acre lake in northwest Washington, at Bellingham.
Moses Lake is a 6,800-acre lake in the central part of the state, at the town of Moses Lake.
Omak Lake is a 3,250-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Omak.
Osoyoos Lake is a 5,800-acre lake along the US/Canada border near the middle of the state.
Ozette Lake is a 7,400-acre lake on the northwest coast of Washington, at Ozette.
Palmer Lake is a 2,100-acre lake is located mid-state near the US/Canada border, just south of Nighthawk.
Potholes Reservoir is a 27,800-acre lake in central WA, 5 miles south of Moses Lake.
Riffe Lake, aka Mossyrock Lake or Davisson Lake, is an 11,800-acre lake in southwest Washington, at Mossyrock.
Rimrock Lake is a 2,800-acre lake in the south-central part of the state, at Rimrock.
Rock Lake is a 2,200-acre lake in eastern Washington, 10 miles southeast of Sprague.
Roosevelt Lake, officially Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, is a 79,000-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, 60 miles northwest of Spokane.
Ross Lake is a 12,000-acre lake on the US/Canada border, in Ross Lake National Recreation Area.
Rufus Woods Lake is a 6,400-acre lake, 51 miles long section of the Columbia River in north-central Washington.
Silver Lake is a 2,300-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, 5 miles east of Castle Rock.
Swift Reservoir is a 4,600-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, at Cougar.
Vancouver Lake is a 2,300-acre lake in the southwest corner of the state, on the western outskirts of Vancouver.
Yale Lake is a 3,800-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, at Cougar.
Many of these lakes have marinas offering a wide variety of supplies, services and boat rentals.
Fish Species & State Records in Washington
World record: 22 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 12.53 lbs
World record: 11 lbs 15 oz
State Record: 8.85 lbs
World record: 58 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 37.7 lbs
World record: 123 lbs 9 oz
State Record: 22.8 lbs
World record: 143 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 17.75 lbs
World record: 22 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 19.85 lbs
World record: 6 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 4.50 lbs
World record: 5 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 2.80 lbs
World record: 25 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 20.32 lbs
World record: 42 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 35.06 lbs
World record: 42 lbs 2 oz
State Record: 29.6 lbs
World record: 41 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 12.0 lbs
World record: 14 lbs 8 oz
State Record: 9.0 lbs
World record: 40 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 22.0 lbs
World record: 72 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 35.63 lbs
World record: 11 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 3.91 lbs
World record: 4 lbs 12 oz
State Record: 2.33 lbs
World record: 2.2 lbs
State Record: 0.79 lbs
World record: 2 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 1.09 lbs
World record: 3.0 lbs
State Record: 1.38 lbs
World record: 2.4 lbs
State Record: 0.53 lbs
World record: 4 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 2.75 lbs
World record: 79 lbs 2 oz
State Record: 14.38 lbs
World record: 97 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 68.26 lbs
World record: 35 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 25.97 lbs
World record: 33 lbs 7 oz
State Record: 25.27 lbs
World record: 9 lbs 10 oz
State Record: 6.25 lbs
World record: 14 lbs 8 oz
State Record: 15.40 lbs
World record: 15 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 10.63 lbs
World record: 55 lbs 1 oz
State Record: 34.06 lbs
Estimated world record: 1,100 lbs
State Record: Not applicable
World record: 51 lbs 2 oz
State Record: 37.88 lbs
Click the images and links above for species details.
Visit AA-Boats-Boating.com to find information about fishing boats in Washington state.
List A Washington Fishing Guide Service
We are looking for information on local guides who offer services on area waters. You can find a listing of WA fishing guides here. If you are a fishing guide in Washington or know of a good resource, please send us information for consideration.
State of WA Fishing Information
Find regulations and info about local fishing at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website. Click here for a Washington fishing license.
Fish for big bass
Excellent largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing opportunities are available to anglers.
Fishing in all states