Home to a fish hatchery and surrounded by a city park, Lake Aberdeen is easily one of the best fishing spots in Grays Harbor County for rainbow trout.
Rainbow trout are the only game fish of note at Lake Aberdeen, but they come in a whole range of sizes, often including a good number of “jumbo” trout that can top out at more than 6 pounds.
Because it’s not a typical city park, lake access itself isn’t quite as open as what you might expect from a more suburban fishing hole.
The boat launch is unimproved gravel, which is fine for small boats but not larger craft. But gas motors aren’t allowed anyway, so smaller watercraft are the way to go anyway.
The south shore of the lake has good shoreline access, including two docks, but the rest of the shoreline is generally tougher for bank angling.
Like many of Washington’s trout lakes, Lake Aberdeen is seasonally managed. Fishing opens on the fourth Saturday of April and closes at the end of October.
When to Fish for Trout
As with many seasonally managed lakes, the best prospects come at the end of April, right as the season opens, and continue through much of spring.
July and August are poor months for trout fishing here, as trout abhor hot weather and tend to be more elusive and less active in the high summer.
September and October may offer decent opportunities for larger-size trout that eluded the early season anglers.
Stocking dates generally fall in April and May, with 10- to 11-inch rainbow trout being stocked in the highest numbers. In a recent stocking year, some 6,500 of those pan-sized trout were planted, as well as a little over 1,000 jumbo trout.
That’s a pretty good number of fish for a late that’s about 100 acres in size.
How to Catch Trout
Anglers can use a variety of methods to fish for rainbow trout. They’re an approachable fish for beginners and can still be a rewarding catch for experts.
As mentioned, internal combustion engines are not allowed on Lake Aberdeen, but non-motorized boating is permitted for craft that can be launched from the gravel ramp.
A small boat or float tube will help you reach more trout away from the busier fishing areas at the south end of the lake.
Also, trolling from a watercraft is a good way to fish for trout. Try spinners or spoons, which can attract the trout’s attention at a distance.
Bait fishing is also viable, either still fishing or trolling.
Stocked rainbow trout aren’t known as picky eaters, happily taking anything from the classic earthworm to prepared dough like PowerBait.
Most of what rainbow trout eat in the wild is insects. As such, fly fishing is a popular and effective way to catch trout, and anglers may be rewarded if they take the time to “match the hatch,” choosing and using imitation flies and nymphs that resemble the insects on which rainbow trout naturally feed.
You might also catch an occasional coastal cutthroat native to this region’s creeks and lakes, including Van Winkle Creek that feeds into the reservoir.
For more information on catching these fish, read our simple Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.
While trout fishing is the big show here, there are some largemouth bass that might provide some action here.
This lake offers a pretty modest bass fishery, but if you’re in the area (especially with a small boat or float tube), it could be fun to catch and release a few of these green meanies.
These bass probably will be biting best when the trout fishing has slowed during the heat of summer, when the water is just a bit more suitable for these warm water-loving fish to be very active in feeding. There should be fewer anglers out by then as well.
Try a variety of lures that mimic their favorite prey species, such as smaller fish, crayfish and frogs.
Holding water here might include fallen trees, points, coves and aquatic vegetation. Generally bass will move into shallow water for the spring spawn and during early mornings and evenings into the summer, while you may do better to back into a bit deeper water in bright daylight.
Another fish that might show up on your hook are northern pikeminnows, perhaps fun to catch but not particularly popular among sport anglers.
Where is Lake Aberdeen?
As you might guess from the name, Lake Aberdeen is in Aberdeen, Washington, although it’s technically an enclave surrounded by unincorporated Grays Harbor County, a little to the east of the city itself. Some call it Aberdeen Lake.
Take U.S. Highway 12, signed locally as Olympic Highway, east from Aberdeen, then turn north onto Central Park Drive (also signed as Aberdeen Lake Road) just past the junkyard. The road will take you into the Lake Aberdeen Recreation Area, which is a city-managed park.
The boat launch is on the southwest side of the lake. Shore access is from the south side.
Although the recreation area is maintained by the Aberdeen Parks & Recreation Department, it’s not a fully developed park, hence the limited shoreline access.
The city website itself describes it as “a primitive area,” with 5 acres that are developed out of a much larger tract that is mostly timberland.
Swimming is allowed at the lake, so be mindful and steer clear of people in the water when angling or boating. There are no on-duty lifeguards.
The Lake Aberdeen Hatchery near the dam on Van Winkle Creek produces steelhead and salmon, as well as rainbow trout.
However, don’t expect to encounter these migratory fish in Lake Aberdeen proper, as they are released into waterways where they can begin their natural voyage to the ocean.