Lake Padden

2024 Trout Derby

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Located in Bellingham in Lake Padden Park , this lake has some of the best shore access in western Washington and is a wonderful place to bring the kids for safe shoreline fishing. Fishing opportunities include stocked Rainbow Trout, Coastal Cutthroat Trout, and Kokanee and resident Largemouth Bass.

This lake is one of only four waters in Whatcom County managed with a seasonal fishing closure. Spring catch rates for trout are highest early in the season and decline as fish are harvested and as warmer water temperatures force trout to seek areas of colder refuge. Fall is often overlooked by anglers, but can be an ideal time as fish that have been growing all summer become more active around the lake with cooler temperatures. There is a boat launch, but gasoline motors are not allowed.

Two-pole fishing is allowed

Shoreline access: Good - Completely surrounded by a public park. Multiple shoreline access points.

Species you might catch

Lake information

County: Whatcom
Acreage: 147.70 ac.
Elevation: 450 ft.
Center: 48.702903, -122.453363
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Catchable fish plants

Release Location: LK PADDEN (WHAT)
Stock Date Species Number Released Number of Fish Per Pound Facility
Apr 24, 2024 Rainbow 6,828 2.7 KENDALL CR HATCHERY
Apr 16, 2024 Rainbow 8,280 2.5 KENDALL CR HATCHERY
Apr 3, 2024 Rainbow 6,135 2.9 KENDALL CR HATCHERY
Apr 17, 2023 Rainbow 10,023 2.9 KENDALL CR HATCHERY
Apr 11, 2023 Rainbow 3,500 2.9 KENDALL CR HATCHERY
Apr 10, 2023 Rainbow 5,365 2.9 KENDALL CR HATCHERY
Apr 19, 2022 Rainbow 600 3 KENDALL CR HATCHERY
Apr 12, 2022 Rainbow 8,370 2 BELLINGHAM HATCHERY
May 10, 2021 Rainbow 960 2.4 ARLINGTON HATCHERY
Apr 23, 2021 Rainbow 575 2.5 ARLINGTON HATCHERY

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

Coastal cutthroat trout (resident)

Fishing is best for Coastal Cutthroat in the spring and fall. There is a summer lull as fish move offshore into deeper waters to escape the summer heat in July and August. Catch is lowest in the late-winter while adults are spawning in tributary streams.
Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year


The Kokanee fishery typically lasts from April-October before the adults leave the lake to spawn in tributaries starting in late-October and early-November. Fishing is best in the spring before they move into deeper water to avoid warming water temperatures, but they can be targeted throughout the summer in deeper offshore areas near the thermocline. There may be a slight uptick in some waters in the fall as adults return to shallower water and move near shore towards spawning tributaries.
Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Largemouth bass

Fishing improves throughout the spring as waters warm and fish move onshore, peaking during the spawn. Summer is a slight lull though dawn/dusk hours can be very good. Catch improves in Fall as waters cool, vegetation begins to die back, and prey becomes more available. Winter is the hardest time because fish are offshore and slow moving.
Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year


Lake Padden
Photo by WDFW