Trout Fishing in Washington (WA) – Top Spots with Map

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Washington is a beautiful state that is filled with many streams, rivers, and lakes. This essentially makes it a trout fisherman’s dream, since most of them are filled to the brim with catchable fish. 

Trout Fishing in Washington (WA) - Top Spots with Map

Every serious trout angler should make a trip to Washington at some point. Mix in some steelhead and salmon fishing and what are you waiting for? This place will be one you will never forget.

With so many streams, rivers, and lakes, there are more places to fish than you could imagine. When you do eventually go, here are 5 locations that you should make sure that you fish while you are there.

Top Fishing Locations in Washington (WA)

1. Yakima River 

The Yakima River is Washington’s longest river. Visited by both fishermen and non-fishermen alike, the 214-mile long river is known for its scenery and its giant fish. While bigger is not necessarily better, it is when it comes to this trout fishery.

The Yakima River is special in the fact that despite flowing through mountains and higher elevations, it stays fishable even in the coldest winters. With so much river to enjoy, it is very easy to find a spot and have the water completely to yourself.

The Yakima is home to spawning salmon, and the eggs of these big fish are easy prey for the resident brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. This helps them grow to monstrous sizes, and catching big, trophy sized fish is nothing new in this river. 

2. Skagit River

The Skagit River is Washington’s biggest steelhead and salmon fishery. Just like the Yakima, this, in turn, produces some giant trout as they have a reliable food source and plenty of space to grow.

This wide, big river is easily fished from the shore and has plenty of places to do so. For anglers wanting a little more flexibility and the ability to cover more ground, drift boats are a great choice for most stretches of this river. 

For anglers wanting giant rainbow and brown trout, there are plenty of remote areas that giant fish are hiding in. While a little more crowded depending on the time of the year, it is still fairly easy to get away from the crowds and find some good fishing spots. 

3. Hoh River

The Hoh River would be a great place to visit even if you aren’t a fisherman. The river begins on the famous Mount Olympus, making the scenery next to none. Surrounded by snow capped mountains, rainforests, and abundant wildlife, this river is one of the most beautiful in the country.

More well known for its giant steelhead and salmon fishing, the Hoh River is also home to plenty of trout. For areas with bigger trout numbers, try fishing along the upper stretches of the river. Here you will find an abundance of rainbow and brown trout waiting to attach your lures.

The great thing about the Hoh River is that it also has plenty of smaller tributaries branching off of it, so it is very easy to find places off the beaten path to avoid the crowds. Just be careful of any special rules and property boundaries, and you could find your own secluded honey hole.

4. Lake Roosevelt

For anglers who would rather fish on a lake than a river, look no further than Lake Roosevelt. This 130-mile long lake has over 660 miles of shoreline, making it the perfect place to get away from the crowds. 

Along the lake there are plenty of Forest Service campgrounds and amenities, so you can enjoy yourself while you are there. Whether you plan on fishing by boat or on the shore, there are plenty of access points to the water.

The biggest reason you should go fish in Lake Roosevelt is the number of fish it holds. Home to walleye, salmon, bass, and trout, there is plenty of fish to catch. The rainbow trout here are known to grow to giant sizes, including some state record catches here.

5. Green Lake

Anglers who just want to hit the ground running and get a line in the water as soon as possible should consider visiting Green Lake. This urban lake is located in Seattle and is regularly maintained and stocked. Although many think that there are no big fish to be caught in urban waters, some giant trout have been pulled out of here.

Home to plenty of rainbow and brown trout, Green Lake makes for a nice spot for a quick afternoon of fishing. There are access points and fishing piers all over the lake, so it is also a great place to take kids and beginners fishing as well. 

The best times to fish Green Lake are from March to October, as the fish are much more active and willing to bite. Considered one of the best fisheries in western Washington, Green Lake is one you will want to check out. 

When Does Trout Season Start in Washington

Like many other states, Washington has a general trout season but also has many places that offer year round opportunities at catching fish. You must also possess a valid fishing license to fish anywhere in the state.

It is always important to thoroughly read and understand the fishing regulations before starting to fish anywhere, and for more detailed information on all of Washington’s rules and regulations refer to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov.

How Much Is a Fishing License in Washington

Fishing licenses in Washington are going to be a little pricier for nonresident anglers than some other states, but it is well worth it. 

  • Annual fishing licenses in Washington will cost nonresidents $84.50 ($29.50 for residents). 
  • Washington offers 1, 2, and 3-day short term licenses for both residents and non-residents.
  • These short term licenses must be used on consecutive days, and cost $20.15, $28.95, and $35.55 respectively. 

To view all of Washington’s fees and regulations, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/fishing/.

Where to Buy a Fishing License in Washington

Fishing licenses in Washington can be bought and printed from the Department’s website, and this is probably the easiest way to get your license. You can also visit their website and search for license dealers across the state by location. This can be done at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/fishing/ and will help you find an establishment to buy a license in person. 

Final Thoughts

Washington may be well known for its salmon fishing, but don’t let that fool you. The very same waters that produce big salmon are also home to some giant trout that are just waiting for you to catch them. If you ever have the opportunity to fish in this great state, make the most of it!

Trout Fishing in the US

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