Lake Washington

Open to fishing year-round, this large lake between Seattle and Bellevue holds dozens of fish species, but the principal game fish attractions are Coastal Cutthroat Trout, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, and Black Crappie. Note that there are several zone-fishing closures along the floating bridges, and a minimum size regulation to protect juvenile Steelhead Trout in the spring. Opportunities for Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye salmon are also available depending on the abundance of returning adults. Principal access ramps are at Kenmore, Magnuson Park at Sand Point, Gene Coulon Park in Renton, and Rainier Beach Park in Rainier Beach. Bank access is abundant.

Numerous fishing piers dot the perimeter of the lake. Some of the more popular piers near Kirkland are located in Waverly Park, Marina Park and at the Old Ship Museum Park. Near Renton, Gene Coulon Memorial Park offers public fishing piers, and a fishing pier is available in Seward Park on the south west side of the lake. On the north end of Mercer Island, Luther Burbank Park offers a fishing pier and boat docks for fishing.

The Washington State Department of Health has issued these fish consumption advisories for Lake Washington: all groups (children and adult men and women), because of PCB contamination; do not eat any Northern Pikeminnow. All groups, because of mercury contamination; for Yellow Perch greater than 10.5 inches, eat no more than one meal (8 oz serving) per month; for Cutthroat Trout greater than 12 inches, eat no more than one meal per month; for Cutthroat Trout less than 12 inches, eat no more than three meals per month; for Largemouth and Smallmouth bass of all sizes, eat no more than two meals per month. See http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Food/Fish.

See the latest Sockeye salmon counts at the Ballard Locks.

See also: Public Fishing Piers of Lake Washington

Two-pole fishing is NOT allowed

Shoreline access: Good - Limited primarily to fishing piers and boat ramps.

WDFW water access areas on this lake

Species you might catch

Lake information

County: King
Acreage: 21933.60 ac.
Elevation: 17 ft.
Center: 47.601594, -122.275275
Open in Google Maps

Fishing prospects calendar

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

Kokanee

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

Smallmouth 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

Yellow perch

Yellow Perch can be caught year-round. Fishing is best in the summer after they finish spawning in April-May. Fish can be readily angled through the summer from both the shore and boat. Catch begins to decline in the fall as water temperatures cool and fish move offshore forcing anglers to pursue them in boats. Successful fishing for Yellow Perch in the winter involves either targeting schools in deep water from boats or through the ice.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Black crappie

Fishing improves throughout the Spring, peaking during the spawn. Summer is a slight lull, while Fall sees an improvement as waters cool, vegetation dies back, and prey becomes more available. During winter, the bite is slower, but anglers can have great success fishing through the ice when conditions are safe.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Pumpkinseed Sunfish are ubiquitous in most lowland lakes and readily caught year-round. Fishing is best in the spring and summer, peaking during the spawn in June. Fish move offshore into deeper waters through the fall as water temperatures cool making it more difficult to target them. Winter is the most difficult season to catch Pumpkinseed, but persistent anglers can find nice-sized schools offshore.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Brown bullhead

Fishing improves throughout the spring, peaking before the spawning period in May and June. Fishing may pick up in early Fall, followed by a decrease in action as waters cool. Winter is a difficult time to target this species.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Northern pikeminnow

Fishing success for Northern Pikeminnow increases in May and June as water temperatures increase, and generally peaks in late June, although fishing conditions can vary throughout the Columbia River. After a lull during the heat of summer, fishing success peaks again in late September-early October. Northern Pikeminnow congregate in rocky areas with fast currents near dams, islands, stream mouths, points, eddies, rows of pilings, and ledges or bars in the river. Sunrise, sunset, and night are generally the best fishing times. Studies show there are greater concentrations of Northern Pikeminnow in shallow water during low-light conditions.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Photos

Image
Image credit
WDFW