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Great Washington Getaways Banner: Scenic photos of fishing destinations.
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Washington state is blessed with diverse landscapes, great camping, and excellent fishing opportunities. Whether you’re planning a trip in 2014 or beyond, the trout, salmon, steelhead, bass, walleye and tuna will be waiting for you, along with many other attractions and accommodations that make for unforgettable vacations.

This guide highlights some of Washington’s best vacation getaways, featuring family travel and fishing opportunities across the state.  From Ross Lake in the North Cascades to the Grande Ronde River in the southeastern corner, throughout the Pacific coast and Puget Sound regions, into the Columbia River and across our state, we have selected great locations in every region.

The articles that follow are designed to help you plan your trip, catch fish, and find places to stay and play in communities across the state.  Washington’s fisheries are managed to provide excellent angling opportunities and sustainable resources. Use this guide to plan your trip, and make sure to check current fishing regulations before you hit the water.

Have safe, happy and productive vacations, and please share your photos with us when you return!
An oasis in the desert: Potholes Reservoir Washington’s wildest mountains: Camping and fishing in the Selkirks Washington’s biggest summertime playground: Lake Roosevelt A tale of two fisheries: The Tucannon and Snake rivers Mid-Columbia River smorgasbord: McNary Dam to Crow Butte Park Mt. Adams high mountain trout adventure Southern Coast: Sand, Salmon and Sunsets Northern Coast: An Ocean of Opportunity Plunking the big river: Lower Columbia salmon and steelhead Bountiful bivalves: Digging razor clams on coastal beaches Fishing and camping on Washington’s wildest lake: Ross Lake rainbows Methow River Valley camping and fishing adventure From mountains to valley: Yakima River Basin Beyond Opening Day: Cheney-area trout lakes Hells Canyon Country in Washington: Grande Ronde River bass and trout
Southern coast: Sand, salmon and sunsets Southern coast: Sand, salmon and sunsets Photo: Man netting fish off boat.
  Washington’s sandy southern beaches teem with salmon, surf perch, and crab, while rockfish and lingcod patrol rocky jetties and reefs for prey. Offshore, albacore tuna slash at schools of anchovies – and anglers’ baits.  Back on shore, in campgrounds, restaurants and kitchens, travelers feast on the bounties of the sea.
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Northern coast: An ocean of opportunity Northern coast: An ocean of opportunity Photo: Man holding large halibut caught off coast of Washington.
  From the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Port Angeles to the rocky northwestern-most point of the mainland U.S. at Cape Flattery, ports like Neah Bay, Seiku/Clallam Bay and Port Angeles offer fantastic camping, salmon fishing and crabbing near protected water.  From Neah Bay south to La Push, the open Pacific and the trails and beaches of the north coast bring travelers in search of seafood and solitude.
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Bountiful bivalves: Digging razor clams on coastal beaches Bountiful bivalves: Digging razor clams on coastal beaches Photo of boy with razor clam
  In a single day, as many as 30,000 people may descend on the state’s coastal beaches to dig razor clams at low tide. Only the most basic equipment required and a single limit of 15 clams can serve a family of four in classic Northwest style. Lots of restaurants on the Washington coast serve razor clams when they’re in season – but it’s more fun to dig your own.
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Plunking the big river: Lower Columbia salmon and steelhead Plunking the big river: Lower Columbia salmon and steelhead Photo: Man with salmon caught in the Lower Columbia River using "plunking" technique.
  Some Columbia River salmon and steelhead anglers tow expensive boats behind expensive trucks to deploy expensive gear and bait into the river for what become very expensive fish.  But then there are the “plunkers.” Plunking is a successful method of fishing from the bank with inexpensive gear to catch salmon and steelhead as they migrate up the Columbia in large numbers every summer. Plunkers spend less money, have more barbeques and take more naps than their colleagues afloat. Plunking opportunities abound during summer on the Lower Columbia.
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Fishing and camping on Washington’s wildest lake: Ross Lake rainbows Fishing and camping on Washington’s wildest lake: Ross Lake rainbows Photo: Girl with trout caught fishing at Ross Lake, Washington.
  Travelers don’t have to reach Ross Lake via British Columbia, but they do if they want to bring their own boat! Ross Lake is one of the wildest, most secluded lakes in Washington, and it provides both adventure and solitude. Whether hiking to the big lake, taking a shuttle from Ross Lake Resort or driving to Hozomeen Campground and boat launch through Hope, B.C., Ross Lake is a wild trout paradise in some of Washington’s wildest country.
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Methow River Valley camping and fishing adventure Methow River Valley camping and fishing adventure Photo: Man holding trout while fishing the Methow River, Washington.
  The Methow River cuts a crystal path through one of Washington’s most beautiful valleys. The river produces big cutthroat and rainbow trout all summer before its famous steelhead begin to arrive in late summer and early fall. On benches above the river, Alta and Pearrygin lakes offer beautiful state parks and excellent camping and family angling for rainbow trout.
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From mountains to valley: Yakima River Basin From mountains to valley: Yakima River Basin Photo: Group fishing from boat on the Yakima River, Washington.
  The Yakima River provides one of the state’s most diverse summertime fisheries due to a steady stream of cold water from its mountain reservoirs. Keechelus, Kachess, Cle Elum and Cooper lakes offer excellent kokanee and trout fishing, and the upper stretches of the river comprise the state’s most popular trout fishery. Closer to the Tri-Cities, smallmouth bass and channel catfish dominate the Yakima River catch.
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Beyond Opening Day: Cheney-area trout lakes Beyond Opening Day: Cheney-area trout lakes Photo: Young girl with trout caught in one of the Cheney-area lakes, Washington.
  The lakes surrounding the college town of Cheney are famous producers of fast limits of fat trout on Opening Day in late April and throughout spring, but the crowds thin out during the summer as temperatures rise and trout swim deeper, leaving lakes uncrowded, full of fish and very swimmable. Williams, Clear and Rock lakes harbor abundant trout populations and some warmwater species and are great summertime getaways close to Spokane.
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Hells Canyon Country in Washington: Grande Ronde River bass and trout Hells Canyon Country in Washington: Grande Ronde River bass and trout Photo: Man netting fish caught from boat on the Grande, Ronde River, Washington.
  The Blue Mountains' Grande Ronde River is famous for its abundant steelhead during fall and winter, but during summer the river's smallmouth bass, rainbow trout and abundant wildlife draw visitors to this southeast Washington gem.
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Mid-Columbia River smorgasbord: McNary Dam to Crow Butte Park Mid-Columbia River smorgasbord: McNary Dam to Crow Butte Park Photo: Woman on boat with trophy salmon on the Columbia River, Washington.
  Throughout much of the Midwest, where walleye is king, anglers dream about catching just one walleye as large as those anglers catch with regularity in the Columbia River below McNary Dam. From this 1.4-mile-wide barrier downstream to the area around Crow Butte Park, the Columbia River is arguably Washington’s most diverse fishery. Trophy walleye and smallmouth are relatively easy to target in summer, and waves of migrating summer salmon, steelhead, and shad provide anadromous alternatives.
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Mt. Adams high mountain trout adventure Mt. Adams high mountain trout adventure Photo: Young man with trout and fishing rod.
  Although Mt. Adams is clearly and stunningly visible from several populated and well-traveled vantage points in Washington, the 12,281-foot mountain is much less visited than its 14, 410-foot counterpart to the northwest, Mt. Rainier. What Adams lacks in elevation, it makes up for in access, camping opportunities, and excellent fishing. Intimate high mountain lakes and small campgrounds offer solitude, amazing vistas, and plenty of trout.
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An oasis in the desert: Potholes Reservoir An oasis in the desert: Potholes Reservoir Photo: Man on boat holding largemouth bass caught at the Potholes Reservoir, Washington.
  The Potholes Reservoir was born in 1949 south of Moses Lake after the construction of O’Sullivan Dam and has been a summertime oasis in the desert ever since, drawing dedicated anglers, campers, water-sports enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and more. The reservoir’s waters teem with panfish, bass, and walleye, as well as large, net-pen-raised rainbow trout.
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A tale of two fisheries: The Tucannon and Snake rivers A tale of two fisheries: The Tucannon and Snake rivers Photo: Man holding a smallmouth bass.
  The tiny Tucannon River flows north from its origins in the Wenaha Tucannon Wilderness, through Washington Department of Fish Wildlife's Wooten Wildlife Area in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, and on through miles of irrigated agricultural land before emptying into the Snake River.  The upper stretches of the Tucannon offer many cheap or free camping opportunities and fine small-stream trout fishing.  The Snake River from Lyons Ferry to Little Goose Dam offers fantastic steelhead, salmon, walleye, smallmouth bass, and channel catfish angling, as well as camping opportunities.
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Washington’s biggest summertime playground: Lake Roosevelt Washington’s biggest summertime playground: Lake Roosevelt Photo: Young girl on boat holding a walleye she caught at Lake Roosevelt, Washington.
  Lake Roosevelt is one of Washington’s most popular fishing and camping lakes and is renowned year round for large rainbow trout, huge kokanee, and abundant smallmouth bass and walleye. Summer is the most family-friendly time to visit this popular and very large Columbia River impoundment, known for its sandy beaches, cool water, and almost unlimited camping opportunities.
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Washington’s wildest mountains: Camping and fishing in the Selkirks Washington’s wildest mountains: Camping and fishing in the Selkirks Photo: Boater at one of the scenic mountain lakes in the Selkirk Mountains, Washington.
  The wilds of northeast Washington’s Colville National Forest harbor some of the state’s rarest and most elusive mammals and some of our state’s most strikingly beautiful mountain landscapes.  The Selkirk Mountains are home to many fishing lakes with trout, kokanee, and even some warmwater fish. Inexpensive or free camping and abundant trout have attracted families to the Colville National Forest for generations.
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