Cle Elum Lake

Seven miles northwest of the town of Cle Elum. Fishing season is open year-round, but there are no boat launch facilities after mid-summer due to excessive reservoir drawdown.

This large storage reservoir gets light fishing pressure and is a fair producer of  9 to 15-inch kokanee, with trolling the most effective technique. The lake is no longer stocked with kokanee, instead there is a sockeye salmon restoration effort underway. The permanent fishing regulations were changed in 2015. Kokanee/sockeye minimum size is 9 inches and maximum size is 15 inches to protect migratory sockeye smolts (less than 9 inches) and adult sockeye (greater than 15 inches) holding in the lake before fall spawning in the upper Cle Elum River. There is no minimum size for all other trout species and kokanee/sockeye are included in the 5 [native] trout daily limit (includes kokanee, rainbow and cutthroat trout).

The lake supports a  fair-to-good lake trout (mackinaw) fishery and the WDFW encourages anglers to harvest all these non-native trout species  in order to benefit  juvenile sockeye salmon. Lake trout up to 20 lbs. have been taken. Deep water trolling and jigging techniques during the spring and early summer are effective.

Burbot are also available. Check the regulations pamphlet for details.

There are US Forest Service boat launch and camping facilities at the lake. (Also, see Washington State Parks website for ADA accessibility information. 


Two-pole fishing is allowed

Shoreline access: Good - Shoreline access via U.S. Forest lands & campground at Wish Posh.

Species you might catch

Lake information

County: Kittitas
Acreage: 4566.30 ac.
Elevation: 2227 ft.
Center: 47.266596, -121.093567
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Fishing prospects calendar

Rainbow trout

Fishing success for Rainbow Trout is generally best in the spring when thousands of fish are stocked statewide, but they can be caught year-round in most waters with a little patience and persistence. Success remains high into June and gradually declines as water temperatures increase and fish move offshore to stay cool. Fish that escaped the spring harvest return to the nearshore areas in the fall as waters cool off. Some waters may also be stocked again in the fall further boosting catch rates.
Chart showing fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Westslope cutthroat trout

See chart for details.
Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year