Bradley Lake is a tidy city park in Puyallup and has excellent springtime trout fishing for young anglers.
Fishing at the pond was restricted in 2018 and is now only open to children under 15, senior citizens, and people with disabilities and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s designated harvester companion card.
The lake is stocked with some 5,000 hatchery-reared rainbow trout in several bunches from March to May.
The lake may be stocked again in the fall (about October) as the water cools back into the range trout prefer. This planting will be smaller than in spring, but the fish may be significantly larger “jumbo” rainbow trout.
Fishing will be far better in the few weeks after fish are planted at Bradley. Trout are typically caught quickly in ponds, and they also won’t fair too well here in the summer if they do survive the busy spring fishery.
Hatchery trout are fairly easy to catch with simple bait-fishing rigs. Popular baits include nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, marshmallows and doughs like PowerBait.
Trout also can be fooled into striking by casting lures such as spinners, spoons and flies.
For more on how to catch these fish, read our simple guide: Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.
Besides the trout, Bradley Lake also is home to year-round populations of several other fish species that are fun to catch.
Among the game fish here are largemouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch and brown bullhead catfish.
Most of these fish start biting fairly well in spring and continue to be easiest to catch throughout summer and into early fall before slowing down their metabolisms and feeding less in the colder months.
Bass eat smaller fish, frogs, crayfish and other prey, and they are often caught using lures that imitate those species.
Bass also will strike worms, but many bass anglers prefer to release these long-living fish and steer clear of bait-fishing because it results in more fatal hookups than lure fishing.
Crappie eat minnows and are often caught using crappie jigs, which can be suspended beneath a bobber for casting.
Perch and catfish typically are found near the bottom of lakes and are easily caught with bait including worms.
The lake, also known as Lake Bradley or Bradley Pond, is inside Bradley Lake Park, a pretty little oasis of green right in a busy part of Puyallup.
In fact, Bradley Lake Park is right across 7th Street SE from the Walmart Supercenter in South Hill Mall. It’s just off State Route 512, about 25 minutes from either Tacoma or Auburn.
The pond has excellent bank-fishing access, including a trail that rings the lake, which is roughly 10 acres in size, give or take depending on the source.
The park also has plenty of parking, picnic tables, playgrounds and walking paths.
In addition to the restrictions on who can fish at Bradley Lake, no anglers may use the two-pole endorsement here. Other rules generally follow the state regulations, but read the latest set to make sure you’re fishing legally.