50 Best Fishing Spots in Seattle and King County (2023 Update)

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King County may have Washington’s largest city and more people than any other county in the state, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a place to fish.

The fact is, the home to Seattle also is home to an amazing number of excellent fishing spots, ranging from Puget Sound at (literally) sea level to lakes so high in the mountains they don’t thaw until summertime.

This article spotlights many of the best of King County’s almost countless lakes full of stocked and wild trout, bass, panfish and kokanee and several of its major rivers with seasonal runs of salmon and steelhead and wily wild trout. We just touch on saltwater opportunities here.

We’ve recently updated the article to include the most recent fishing conditions and opportunities for 2022 (including trout stocking). It also includes helpful links to maps for each location.

A chum salmon swims near sunset at Des Moines Beach in King County.
Photo by Alabastro Photography, courtesy of Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority

Besides Seattle, King County also is home to other cities including Bellevue, Burien, Covington, Des Moines, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, SeaTac, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, Tukwila, Woodinville and parts of Auburn and Bothell.

There are quite a few other smaller cities and communities also in this county of well over 2 million people.

Seattle and its suburbs are headquarters to Amazon, Starbucks, Costco, Microsoft, Boeing and Alaska Airlines, among other notable companies. The University of Washington’s main campus is in Seattle.

King County includes several islands, including Vashon and Maury, and parts of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and other forested areas in the Cascade Mountains.

But you’ve come to this article for the fishing, so without (much) further ado, what follows is an alphabetical listing of some of the best places to catch fish in King County. Watch for links to more detailed information.

Well, one last thing: While there is an amazing amount of fishing opportunity inside King County, there’s even more if you make a short drive.

At the end of this article, you’ll see our “Fishing in Neighboring Counties” feature to link you to many of the very best fishing spots throughout the Puget Sound area.

Lake Alice

The 22-acre Lake Alice west of Snoqualmie Falls is stocked with a decent number of hatchery rainbow trout during the spring months, when fishing for them will be best.

The most recent stocking reports from last year had the lake being stocked monthly in the first or second week of March, April and May with 1,000 or more trout each time. These were good-sized fish, averaging a half pound by May.

A few larger trout carry over, and you are more likely to catch largemouth bass and sunfish here when the weather is warmer.

There is a fair bit of private property on the lakes shore, but a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) concrete boat launch on the east end will give you lake access.

Google Map and Directions to Lake Alice

Angle Lake

This SeaTac lake has a lot of fishing opportunities in its 100-plus acres.

The lake is stocked by April with thousands of catchable-size rainbow trout, and trout fishing will be best in spring.

A recent stocking of about 6,500 keeper trout at the very end of March gives you a good idea of what to expect.

WDFW also plants a large number of small kokanee that grow to catchable size in the deep lake.

Kokanee fishing tends to be best in the summer, when these fish are good-sized and they school up and are most predictable.

Angle Lake also has a diverse warmwater fishery, including largemouth bass, black crappie, rock bass and yellow perch. The perch can provide quite a good fishery during the summer.

Angle Lake is in a very developed area between Interstate 5 and the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The place to go is Angle Lake Park along Highway 99 on the west side of the lake, where bank anglers will find a nice fishing pier and boaters will find a developed launch.

More: Angle Lake Fishing

Google Map and Directions to Angle Lake

Bass Lake

This 24-acre Enumclaw-area lake is true to its name, offering a fishery for largemouth bass as well as black crappie, yellow perch and pumpkinseed sunfish.

While WDFW manages the lake for warmwater species and just lists the above, other sources have mentioned the potential presence of a few cutthroat or other trout.

WDFW has is a primitive boat launch on the east side off State Route 169 (264th Avenue SE).

Google Map and Directions to Bass Lake

Beaver Lakes

A scenic of Beaver Lake in King County.

There is a chain of three connected lakes in Sammamish, but the main lake in the middle is the primary fishing destination.

The 63-acre main lake is stocked each spring with quite a large number of rainbow trout for its size.

In our most recent update, there were 6,500 keepers planted last year in early April, for example, so I’d watch that time frame to kick off your season here.

Then the stocking truck typically returns in the fall to drop off a pretty good load of WDFW’s larger “jumbo” trout.

Past stockings show some 2,800 really fat trout being stocked in about the third week of November.

Beaver Lake also has a fairly nice warmwater fishery, with largemouth bass to good size and yellow perch that are tasty and can be large enough to bother with here. Bullhead catfish also are present.

Bank anglers typically head to Beaver Lake Park while people with small boats have the best fishing access and head to WDFW’s gravel launch, located on the southeast end of the lake.

Google Map and Directions to Beaver Lake

Bitter Lake

This nearly 20-acre lake in northwest Seattle is stocked each spring with a dose of hatchery rainbow trout.

Fishing for trout will be best for a few weeks after the planting. The last annual stocking we saw for this update was about 1,500 keepers planted in late April but other years has occurred in May. Use the links below to pinpoint your trip for trout.

Spring, summer and the first part of fall should also provide a pretty decent fishery for warmwater species, including a good number of rock bass (a panfish) as well as largemouth bass and brown bullhead catfish. Crappie and perch may be available as well.

The primary access is via a Seattle city park, Bitter Lake Playfield, where you’ll find a modest amount of bank fishing and can carry in a small watercraft. There is no boat launch so leave your trailered boat a home for this one.

Google Map and Directions to Bitter Lake

Lake Boren

This small lake in Newcastle is stocked with a modest number of hatchery rainbow trout, often just once during the spring, and trout fishing is best soon after a planting.

For this update, the last annual stocking we found was in late April, when about 1,500 keepers were dropped off.

Lake Boren, a 16-acre pond close to Renton, also is year-round home to resident cutthroat trout, which you might catch on occasion, especially when the water is cooler. Fall can be a good season for cutts.

In addition to trout, Lake Boren has a warmwater fishery with largemouth bass, yellow perch and brown bullhead catfish.

Bank access (including a fishing pier) is at Lake Boren Park off Coal Creek Parkway SE.

Google Map and Directions to Lake Boren

Cedar River

An angler holds a very nice wild rainbow trout caught fly fishing on the Cedar River in King County.
Photo courtesy of Jake Melton

This Lake Washington tributary offers a surprisingly good fishery for native trout close to the Seattle metropolitan area.

The lower 21.5 miles of this stream is managed with selective gear regulations and popular with fly anglers, although lure anglers can fish here also using single barbless hooks. The upper river is closed to fishing.

The open section of river is strictly limited to daytime catch-and-release trout fishing. The season offers just over three months of fishing from Memorial Day weekend to the end of August.

The river is protected spawning habitat for migratory salmon and steelhead, which are having a tougher time than the trout.

More: Cedar River Fishing

Google Map and Directions to Cedar River (Trail Park)

Cottage Lake

A relatively small lake with a relatively large amount of trout fishing, this accessible spot is located near Woodinville.

Cottage Lake is generously stocked with rainbow trout before its spring opener and also has a nice population of native coastal cutthroat trout.

The last stocking information available shows the lake last year was stocked with an impressive 12,000 ready to catch rainbow trout in the first half of April, but of course use the links below to help pinpoint the next planting.

This lake also has a warmwater fishery including largemouth bass and several species of panfish.

More: Cottage Lake Fishing

Google Map and Directions to Cottage Lake Park

Deep Lake

This lake just beyond Enumclaw is a very nice spot for a day’s fishing for a variety of species, and a good spot to take the family for a variety of activities.

The roughly 40-acre lake is stocked with a good number of catchable rainbow trout in the spring, usually in April or May, when this lake really gets going.

At our last update, the previous stocking had occurred in late April and was 4,000 keeper trout.

There also are resident coastal cutthroat that sometimes appear in the trout catches.

Deep Lake is as deep as 70 feet to help it sustain a population of kokanee, which are feisty and tasty land-locked sockeye salmon about the size of pan-sized trout.

There is a varied warmwater fishery here, which includes yellow perch, black crappie, largemouth bass and brown bullhead catfish.

The entire lake is in Nolte State Park and access is excellent access for bank anglers. You can carry a person-powered small boat in and launch, but motors are prohibited.

More: Deep Lake Fishing at Nolte State Park

Google Map and Directions to Deep Lake (Nolte State Park)

Desire, Lake

An aerial view of Lake Desire in King County.

This year-round lake near Renton is generously stocked with rainbow in the spring, when trout fishing is best.

The records show that the last spring planting occurred at the very end of March. This stocking was about 8,000 trout, so there were lots to catch in April.

Lake Desire also can provide pretty good fishing for warmwater species including largemouth bass and yellow perch.

More: Lake Desire Fishing

Google Map and Directions to Lake Desire

Dolloff, Lake

This 20-acre lake in southern King County gets a modest planting of rainbow trout each spring and otherwise has quite a collection of other fish species to provide action throughout summer and early fall.

At last check, a planting of 2,000 hatchery trout happened in early May, but stocking times may vary so check as that time of year arrives.

The other trout in Lake Dolloff besides the hatchery fish are resident cutthroat trout, which bite best in spring and fall.

Other game fish here include both largemouth and smallmouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, rock bass, yellow perch and brown bullhead catfish, all of which are more active in the warm months.

Lake Dolloff reportedly can grow largemouth bass to excellent size for such a small lake.

This fishing spot is located in the residential Lakeland North between Federal Way and Auburn, just east of Interstate 5.

There is a WDFW access and boat launch at the southern end of the lake.

Google Map and Directions to Lake Dolloff

Echo Lake

This 12-acre lake in Shoreline gets a modest planting of hatchery rainbow trout during the spring, when most trout fishing takes place.

As an example, the previous year’s stocking was 1,000 keeper trout planted in late April.

The suburban lake also has some warmwater fishing including largemouth bass.

The primary access to the lake is from Echo Lake Park, which in addition to bank fishing offers typical park amenities such as playgrounds, picnic areas and trails.

The park is about 20 minutes north of downtown Seattle.

Google Map and Directions to Echo Lake Park

Fenwick, Lake

This city park lake in Kent gets a dose of stocked trout every spring, when fishing here is most popular and productive.

To give you an idea, the last time it was stocked was about 1,800 keepers planted in late April.

Lake Fenwick is 18 acres and also has some pretty good fishing for warmwater species, including good numbers of yellow perch to fair size.

Other species you might catch include largemouth bass, black crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish and brown bullhead catfish.

Fishing for many of these bass and panfish species improves in late spring into summer and early fall.

There is excellent bank access and a place to launch your carry in your small watercraft at Lake Fenwick Park, which also has a variety of other park amenities good for a family visit. There is a disc golf course at the lake as well.

Google Map and Directions to Lake Fenwick

Fish Lake

This small lake north of Enumclaw is stocked with rainbow trout during the spring and also has a naturally reproducing population of coastal cutthroat trout native to area waters.

As a rough guide, we found that there were about 1,500 catchable trout stocked here in early May, but those plans may shift a bit year to year.

There also are warmwater fishing including largemouth bass and yellow perch to catch here, especially after trout fishing slows down.

Access is somewhat limited here, but you can hand-launch a boat from a WDFW access on the south end, off SE 371st Street.

The water level in this normally 15-acre lake can drop down pretty severely later in the summer, hampering access, especially at the shallow south end WDFW site.

Fish Lake is just west of Deep Lake (see separate listing) but doesn’t have as good access.

Google Map and Directions to Fish Lake

Five Mile Lake

This 35-acre lake near Auburn and Federal Way (also called Fivemile Lake) is stocked with several thousand rainbow trout in the spring, and fishing for those will be best in the weeks after the planting.

As an example, the last stocking was 3,200 keeper trout planted in late April.

There also are largemouth bass and bluegill, which likely will bite best as the water warms and trout fishing fades.

There is good access from Five Mile Lake Park, a county facility on S 366th Street, immediately off Military Road S.

Other stocked lakes within a mile of Five Mile include Geneva, Killarney and Trout lakes. See separate listings in this article.

Google Map and Directions to Five Mile Lake Park

Geneva, Lake

This suburban Auburn area lake is fairly small in size (under 30 acres) but comes up big for rainbow trout in the spring, when it’s stocked with 5,000 or more of the popular fish (5,500 at last check) ahead of its opener.

Spring will provide the most consistent catches at Lake Geneva, once this seasonal fishing lake opens in late April, but a few larger holdovers may provide a second wave of action in the fall near the season’s end, when you won’t share the lake with many anglers.

Other fish you are likely to catch here include largemouth bass and bluegill, especially as the trout fishing peters out a fair bit going into summer.

There is bank access from Lake Geneva Park on the northwest end off 46th Avenue S as well as a gravel boat launch on the west side along 38th Avenue S.

This lake is literally across 38th Avenue S from Lake Killarney. See a separate listing for Killarney, which also is stocked with trout.

Google Map and Directions to Lake Geneva

Green Lake

A swimming platform at Green Lake.

This jumbo-sized park lake in the heart of Seattle and next to the Woodland Park Zoo is a surprisingly good fishing spot for such a busy place.

Green Lake is stocked with lots and lots of trout and also has fine fishing for bass, panfish and other species.

For stocking, we’ve found in a recent check that it is likely to be stocked with some 6,000 fish in early spring (around late March) and then bumped up with nearly 5,000 more trout in early May.

The stocking trucks usually take summers off here but are likely to return again in the fall with thousands of larger trout.

The last stocking data we could access showed stocking occurred the first of November and again just before Thanksgiving, each time dropping off a couple thousand trout that were substantially larger than the spring plantings, so keep those rough time frames in mind while researching a fall outing.

More: Green Lake Fishing in Seattle

Google Map and Directions to Green Lake

Green River (Duwamish River)

This is the major salmon and steelhead river in southern King County, although it simply doesn’t offer these fish in the kinds of numbers old-timers might remember.

Still, the river provides fair annual catches of coho, Chinook and chum salmon, and during odd years there can be quite productive fishing for pink salmon when the runs are good.

The 2021 pink salmon season had some good times for sure, and we’ll see what the late summer and early fall of 2023 might bring for that fishery.

The Green also is the main river in King County still planted with steelhead, with smolts from both winter and summer runs stocked. Icy Creek (Raging River) near Preston is stocked with both varieties and Big Soos Creek (confluence east of Auburn) has been stocked lately with summer-runs.

Recent catches for most salmon and steelhead runs are counted in the low hundreds per year, versus the thousands of years past. If runs rebound, the Green likely will be among the top places to fish in the region.

Trout fishing for cutthroat and maybe some young steelhead is a minor pursuit in the Green.

At times, Atlantic salmon that have escaped Puget Sound fish farms have migrated up the Green River. These invasive species may be kept without recording them.

More: Fishing the Green River (Duwamish)

Google Map and Directions to Green River (Duwamish River)

Greenwater River

A tributary to the White River and then the Puyallup River (Pierce County), this mountain stream offers some fair but accessible fishing for wild trout along the far southeastern edge of King County.

Much of the access is along Forest Service Road 70, which is paved and follows the stream for quite a few miles. It connects to State Route 410 about 30 minutes east of Enumclaw.

Google Map and Directions to Greenwater River

Haller Lake

A 15-acre North Seattle lake that gets a moderate-sized load of hatchery rainbow trout stocked each spring.

The last annual planting we found was 1,300 keeper rainbows in late April, to give you an idea.

The lake also has populations of largemouth bass and yellow perch to catch, especially once the trout fishing slows way down in the summer months.

There’s not a lot of access to fish from the bank in this home-encircled lake, but you can get to the shore near the ends of Meridian Avenue (north side) and 125th Street (west side).

You can’t launch a trailered boat but you can carry in a raft or other small watercraft to those sites and launch.

The shallow parts of Haller have lots of lily pads and docks, making for some nice bass cover but impeding bank fishing access.

Google Map and Directions to Haller Lake (west side)

Holm, Lake

This 20-acre lake 10 minutes east of Auburn is most popularly fished in the spring, as soon as WDFW plants a fair number of catchable rainbow trout into the lake.

As an example, the last spring plant we found was 1,600 keepers in the second week of April.

Lake Holm also offers fishing for largemouth bass, which will be most active in late spring through early fall when the water is warmer.

There is a WDFW access with some room for bank fishing or to launch your boat or other watercraft (no combustion engines allowed) located at the southeast end of the lake right along SE Lake Hold Road (SE 336th Street).

Google Map and Directions to Lake Holm

Issaquah Creek

A coho salmon jumping a fish ladder on Issaquah Creek.

This stream, a main tributary of Lake Sammamish, these days is open to fishing from late May through August, a time when the main fish there are trout.

Issaquah Creek is home to a salmon hatchery that helps bring a coho salmon fishery to the lake, but the creek itself is closed to all fishing when the silvers return. They do make a fun wildlife-watching outing, though.

Google Map and Directions to Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

Killarney, Lake

This roughly 30-acre lake located literally across the street from Lake Geneva in the Lakeland South area near Auburn and Federal Way offers good springtime fishing for stocked hatchery rainbow trout.

The last stocking record we could access showed about 2,500 keeper rainbows stocked in early May.

Lake Killarney also has a varied warmwater fishery that includes largemouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish and brown bullhead catfish.

There is a WDFW access is from a small isthmus on the east side of the lake, across 38th Avenue S from the WDFW access at Lake Geneva (see separate listing in this article).

Fishing from a boat is a great bet during the spring and early summer, but the Killarney access can get vary poor as the water level typically drops away from the access point during the warm season.

Google Map and Directions to Lake Killarney

Langlois Lake

This 40-acre lake just 14 miles east of Redmond has a nice cold water fishing opportunity because it is stocked with both rainbow trout and kokanee.

The trout are stocked as catchable fish for the late April opener of this seasonal lake, while the kokanee are planted as young fish that grow to catchable size.

The most recent records show about 5,000 catchable trout added before opening day.

When the trout fishing starts to fade and the kokanee have gone deep, there still are a pretty good number of resident largemouth bass to catch here throughout summer and early fall before the annual closure.

Fall also is a pretty good time to chase after the surviving trout, which are fewer in number but have had several months to fatten up on natural feed, which makes them better to eat.

Langlois Lake, located near Carnation, has a good WDFW access at the east end and good bank access as well, including accessible facilities and a paved trail for people with disabilities or limited mobility.

Google Map and Directions to Langlois Lake

Margaret, Lake

Lake Margaret in the hills east of Duvall at the northern edge of King County has plenty of two kinds of trout, stocked annually with both rainbow and coastal cutthroat trout.

The rainbows are stocked as keeper-sized fish for the late April opener. At last check, some 4,200 were stocked for a recent season.

The cutthroat trout are planted as smaller fish during the fall, while the lake is closed to fishing, and allowed to grow to catchable size.

You might catch an occasional largemouth bass or panfish here, especially when the water is reasonably warm.

More: Lake Margaret Fishing

Google Map and Directions to Lake Margaret

Meridian, Lake

This is 149-acre lake in Kent is good for both rainbow trout and kokanee, both of which are stocked in impressive numbers and fishing can be excellent.

Lake Meridian trout fishing will be best in the spring, when it is stocked with some 12,000 catchable rainbow trout over a few months’ time. At last check, the first trout stocking occurred in late March.

When summer arrives, kokanee fishing tends to get better than the trout catches, so anglers often target these tasty land-locked sockeye salmon in this fairly deep lake (about 90 feet).

Besides the stocked fish, Meridian is out of the limelight but quietly a pretty darned good largemouth bass fishing lake.

Meridian also is home to resident populations of yellow perch, brown bullheads and other panfish.

The lake is largely surrounded by homes, but anglers will find access at Lake Meridian Park off SE 272nd Street (SR 516) and a WDFW boat launch nearby.

More: Lake Meridian Fishing

Google Map and Directions to Lake Meridian

Mill Pond

A youth fishing pond in the southern part of Auburn is typically stocked with a modest number of hatchery rainbow trout each spring.

The pond is in Mill Pond Park and is only about an acre in size, and it gets stocked with several hundred trout a few times from about April to June, when the action will be best.

The lake is open to youth anglers, senior anglers and anglers with a disability who have a designated companion harvester card.

Google Map and Directions to Mill Pond Park

Morton, Lake

Lake Morton is stocked each spring with a generous 5,000 or so hatchery rainbow trout, and trout fishing is best in the weeks and few months following a planting.

As an example, a recent year had 5,500 keeper trout stocked in late March.

The 66-acre lake east of Auburn also has some largemouth bass to catch, especially when the water gets warmer and the trout fishing tapers off.

WDFW maintains a gravel boat launch with just a little bank-fishing access at the northwest end of the lake.

Otherwise, the lake is surrounded by private homes, so a small boat is your best bet for catching good numbers of fish here.

Lake Morton is 10 minutes southeast of Covington and only about 20 minutes driving from the Auburn and Kent areas.

Google Map and Directions to Lake Morton

North Lake

This 55-acre seasonal lake in Federal Way is heavily stocked with rainbow trout for the late April opener, and trout fishing will be best in the spring.

How heavily stocked? The last records available showed 9,500 trout stocked here before opening day.

As trout fishing starts to slow down, fishing for warmwater fish such as largemouth bass and yellow perch will begin to heat up.

More: North Lake Fishing

Google Map and Directions to North Lake

Number 12, Lake

Also known as Lake Number Twelve or Twelve Lake, this smallish lake northeast of Black Diamond is stocked with a fairly nice number of hatchery rainbow trout in the spring.

To help you plan, the most recently past year was stocked in early April with 4,500 trout ready to catch. Check the resources below to time your next trip.

The lake also has resident populations of largemouth bass, bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish and brown bullhead catfish.

There is a steep WDFW access on the south shore, and a limited spot to fish from the bank there.

It’s located just off Southeast Green River Gorge Road, about a half hour east of Auburn.

Google Map and Directions to Lake Number 12

Old Fishing Hole Pond

This tiny pond (about an acre) is located in a park just south of the Riverbend Golf Complex in Kent, tucked between SR 516 and the Green River.

The pond is restricted for fishing for youths, seniors, and anglers with disabilities who have a designated harvester companion card.

The pond is typically stocked with a few hundred hatchery rainbow trout per planting.

Our most recent check showed monthly plantings in April, May and June, but check before counting on decent catches as fishing tends to fade quickly in a small pond after it is stocked.

Google Map and Directions to Old Fishing Hole Pond

Phantom Lake

An aerial view of Phantom Lake.

Phantom Lake in Bellevue is managed as a warmwater fishery, meaning the focus is on catching resident species such as largemouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch and brown bullhead catfish.

The 64-acre lake just west of the much larger Lake Sammamish is not currently stocked with trout.

It is accessed from Phantom Lake Loop, with trails and a fishing dock providing good bank angling and a limited-entry free permit required for small boats. Click the link for more information.

Google Map and Directions to Phantom Lake Park

Pine Lake

This roughly 85-acre lake in Sammamish is quite heavily stocked with hatchery rainbow trout for its late April opener, when trout fishing is excellent.

To back up that “heavily” stocking description, the WDFW planted nearly 11,000 trout here before the last season.

The lake also has a nice warmwater fishery with largemouth bass, yellow perch and pumpkinseed sunfish among the fish you’re likely to catch when the water temperature has risen in the later spring into the fall.

Look for excellent access at Pine Lake Park, including a large fishing dock.

More: Pine Lake Fishing

Google Map and Directions to Pine Lake Park

Puget Sound

The mid-Sound area off King County offers some historically good salmon fishing for runs including Chinook (kings), coho and more.

Migrating Chinook are most often caught here in mid- to late-summer, with August often a good bet.

Coho can be caught in awesome numbers, with September usually the peak of the season.

In odd years, pink salmon also can be caught from beaches and boats. The 2021 season had some nice catches, and the next possible shot at these smaller but potentially numerous salmon comes in summer of 2023.

There also is fishing for marine species including squid, sanddabs and other types of flatfish, dogfish and a few other fish species, and some modest shellfishing, especially for crabs.

A number of boating facilities and charter companies are available for anglers who want to get out on the water.

For pier fishing, check WDFW’s public fishing pier listing.

Rattlesnake Lake

A scenic view of rattlesnake lake from rattlesnake ridge trail.

This pretty, spring-fed lake near North Bend and the Cedar River is planted with both rainbow and cutthroat trout and is popular with fly anglers.

Typically the year-round lake is stocked with catchable sized rainbows during the spring and juvenile cutthroats during the fall.

For the former, recent records show about 3,500 catchable rainbows planted in early March.

The cutthroats grow larger in the lake and are available by the following spring and summer.

WDFW applies selective gear regulations at Rattlesnake Lake, meaning you must fish with artificial lures and flies with single, barbless hooks. No bait-fishing is allowed.

Trout harvest is limited both by number and size, so be sure to read the regulations before fishing here.

Seattle Public Utilities maintains an access on the northeast side that includes bank fishing and a small gravel boat launch. You can use an electric motor but not a gas engine.

The lake, typically over 100 acres, can shrink down during the latter part of the summer season some years.

Rattlesnake Lake is located a little more than 10 minutes south of North Bend using Cedar Falls Road. It’s 30 to 45 minutes from most of the Seattle-Bellevue area.

Google Map and Directions to Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area

Ravensdale Lake

This undeveloped lake about three miles north of Black Diamond is modestly fished for largely wild cutthroat trout.

The lake falls under selective gear regulations, which attracts some fly anglers. There also is a reduced harvest limit.

Google Map and Directions to Ravensdale Lake

Sammamish, Lake

Lake Sammamish might look small sitting just east of Lake Washington, but it’s still a giant among King County lakes at more than 4,800 acres, and quite an excellent place to go fishing.

While not stocked with hatchery trout like many of the waters listed here, Lake Sammamish has a quality fishery for resident cutthroat trout, with the best fishing in spring and fall.

Lake Sammamish also is an excellent smallmouth bass lake, and these aggressive and hard-fighting bass are available in both good numbers and good sizes. You might also catch a big largemouth bass or two, but not nearly in the same numbers as the smallies.

Another fishery that gets some attention, especially from anglers looking to bring home a bunch of tasty (if small) fillets, are the lake’s big population of yellow perch.

There also is a seasonal fall coho salmon fishery at Lake Sammamish, but read the regulations carefully as to what you may keep (such as size and hatchery origin) and when.

Sockeye and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout all migrate into and through the lake, but harvesting these species as well as kokanee is prohibited under typical annual regulations. However, WDFW potentially can open additional salmon fishing during the season if the abundance of fish can justify a fishery.

Other fish you might catch include brown bullhead catfish and pumpkinseed sunfish, both usually caught incidentally while fishing for other species.

There are several public parks and access points, the most popular being Lake Sammamish State Park at the southern end.

More: Lake Sammamish Fishing

Google Map and Directions to Lake Sammamish State Park

Sawyer, Lake

This good-sized lake (about 280 acres) in the Black Diamond area offers a nice variety of fishing options including trout, kokanee and bass and panfish.

Lake Sawyer is stocked with a fair number of catchable rainbow trout during the spring, when trout fishing peaks. Our last check showed 2,000 keeper trout planted in late April, but WDFW’s plans can change year to year.

There also are some coastal cutthroat trout in the mix.

These days it also is planted with quite a lot of young kokanee (65,000, at last check) that grow to catchable size in the lake. Summer is usually best for kokanee, which run deep.

Warmer weather is also the peak time to catch both largemouth and smallmouth bass, but in far shallower water. This is definitely a lake to keep in your repertoire if you chase bass in King County.

Good numbers of yellow perch as well as populations of black crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish and brown bullhead catfish round out the catches.

More: Lake Sawyer Fishing

Google Map and Directions to Lake Sawyer

Shadow Lake

The fishing interest at this lake peaks in the spring when the roughly 50-acre lake is stocked with a nice dose of hatchery rainbow trout.

To give you an idea, about 4,500 keepers were the annual stocking in a recent season, and they were planted in early May.

There also is a warmwater fishery for species including largemouth bass and yellow perch at this Maple Valley-area lake.

There is a good concrete boat ramp at the end of a narrow L-shaped finger of the lake accessed from Southeast 213th Street.

No internal combustion motors are allowed at this largely residential neighborhood lake but a small boat will serve you well.

Shadow Lake is only about 20 minutes from Renton or Kent.

Google Map and Directions to Shadow Lake

Shady Lake

This is a small, seasonal lake between Renton and Maple Valley is most popularly fished for stocked rainbow trout in the springtime.

At just 20 acres, the several thousand trout planted at Shady Lake for the late April opener will be easy pickings into May but fishing will drop off as the fish get caught and the water warms. (Our latest update shows 3,400 planted last season.)

As the water warms, resident populations of largemouth bass and pumpkinseed sunfish will be more likely to bite.

WDFW maintains a concrete boat ramp on the south end, off Southeast 196th Drive, and a boat will serve you best. No internal combustion engines are allowed in this largely residential lake setting.

The public bank fishing access is limited to the small launch area.

Google Map and Directions to Shady Lake

Skykomish River, South Fork

The South Fork Skykomish is primarily a trout stream.

Migrating salmon and steelhead only have a couple of miles of access to the lower river above the confluence with the North Fork, before running into the impassible Sunset Falls.

The South Skykomish isn’t open to salmon fishing and there also is a closure to all fishing below the falls, to protect salmon and steelhead that congregate there.

A few marked steelhead are harvested in the lower section but this isn’t a major draw.

The South Fork is formed from the Beckler, Foss and Tye rivers, which are home to various trout species potentially including rainbows, cutthroats and protected bull trout. There also are some whitefish around.

The above tributaries as well as Rapid River and Miller Creek are managed for wild trout, with selective gear rules and restrictive harvests. See the regulations for details.

Google Map and Directions to South Fork Skykomish River

Snoqualmie River

A scenic view of fast water in Snoqualmie River.

Known by many for its iconic falls, for anglers the Snoqualmie River is historically a salmon and steelhead fishing river.

Like many of its counterparts, those runs are a mere shadow of their former glory in this river, part of the Snohomish River system.

The lower Snoqualmie is open to coho fishing and may be opened to fishing for pink salmon if the runs are good. Pinks return only during odd-numbered years.

Area below Tokul Creek is accessible but also very popular, because fish returning to the creek’s hatchery will tend to hold up there.

The river at MacDonald Park in Carnation, just below the mouth of the Tolt River, is another popular spot for steelhead fishing.

Steelhead have historically been stocked in the Tolt and Raging rivers.

The annual steelhead catch in the Snoqualmie in recent years has been counted in the few hundreds, with most of those winter fish.

Because of the falls on the mainstream east of Issaquah, the forks and tributaries above the falls are naturally void of migratory fish but are home to several native and invasive trout species.

These areas include the South, North and Middle forks of the Snoqualmie as well as Deep and Granite creeks and Pratt and Taylor rivers.

Google Map and Directions to Snoqualmie River (MacDonald Park)

Spring Lake

An aerial view of spring lake in king county washington.

This neighbor to Lake Desire, which shares a natural park area, also is quite well stocked with hatchery rainbow trout during the spring, when trout fishing is best.

Checking the last season to give us an idea of what’s coming, the stocking truck dropped about 3,000 keeper trout here in late March and another 4,000 in late April.

As the water warms into summer, you’ll be more likely to succeed focusing on catching warmwater species including largemouth bass, yellow perch and brown bullhead catfish.

Bank access is a bit limited but a boat will serve you well. WDFW has a narrow ramp on the lake’s west side, off W. Spring Lake Drive SE.

See the listing for Lake Desire in this article for more information.

Google Map and Directions to Spring Lake

Star Lake

This smallish lake (a little over 30 acres) is located just off Interstate 5 in the Federal Way and Kent suburban area and will see its busiest fishing season once a few thousand trout are stocked during the spring.

The last planting we saw was 3,500 in late April, to give you an idea of what you might expect this year.

There also are some largemouth bass and other warmwater fish to catch, and these should offer some action in warmer weather even after trout fishing has faded out.

The lake is located just east of the S. 272nd exit off the interstate, and there is a primitive launch on the south side off S Star Lake Road, essentially where 37th Avenue S runs into the lake.

Other than casting off the ramp, bank access is pretty non-existent in this Lakeland North neighborhood lake.

Google Map and Directions to Star Lake

Steel Lake

This modest-sized seasonal fishing lake in Federal Way is very well stocked with hatchery rainbow trout each spring, ahead of its seasonal opener in late April.

Researching last season to get an idea for this year, the lake was visited twice in the weeks before opening day by the stocking truck, which left a total of 8,000 trout to catch during the peak trout season.

The lake, known as home to Family Funland, also offers a warmwater fishery, especially for largemouth bass and yellow perch.

More: Steel Lake Fishing

Google Map and Directions to Steel Lake

Trout Lakes

This listing is a bit tricky, as there are two Trout Lakes in King County of about the same small size (about 15 acres, give or take) … and both offering trout fishing.

The suburban version of Trout Lake is in the Lakeland South area south of Federal Way and Auburn, at the southern edge of King County.

This Trout Lake is stocked with a modest number of hatchery rainbow trout during the spring, when trout fishing will be best. (Our last look showed about 1,800 trout planted in late April last season, to give you an idea.)

This Trout Lake also is home to resident populations of largemouth bass and panfish including bluegill and crappie.

There is limited access on the south side, near the end of 44th Avenue South, where you can drop in a small boat.

The other Trout Lake is located clear at the other end (northeastern) of King County, about seven miles south of Skykomish, and this is a far more wilderness experience than the first Trout Lake we discussed.

In fact, anglers hike in to try to catch mostly smaller wild rainbow trout in the clear waters.

This lake is at moderate elevation (about 2,000 feet) and not always accessible in the colder months, although fishing is allowed year-round.

This wilder Trout Lake still gets a fair bit of angling pressure during nicer weather because it’s a popular hiking area along the West Fork of the Foss River.

The relatively high usage for a small lake can keep the trout numbers down, so fishing is generally only fair.

Google Map and Directions to Trout Lake (Lakeland South)

Google Map and Directions to Trout Lake (Near Skykomish)

Union, Lake

We’re not enthusiastically recommending this roughly 1,000 acre urban lake, but it’s prominent right there in the heart of Seattle.

WDFW seems to largely ignore the waterway, which gets some saltwater at the lower end that likely hampers freshwater fish production.

In spots, crappie can be caught in good numbers and you might also hook a variety of other warm water species, including smallmouth and largemouth bass and yellow.

There also are some resident cutthroat trout in the system but catches are likely to be rare.

Salmon and steelhead migrate through the lake on their way up through Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish and spawning streams.

Google Map and Directions to Lake Union (Gas Works Park)

Walker, Lake

This is a small southeast county lake boosted with spring plantings of hatchery rainbow trout.

Lake Walker is just 12 acres, and trout fishing will be best when this seasonal water opens in late April, with the better angling continuing into May and probably early June.

We looked at last season’s trout stocking to give you an idea of what to expect. Then it was planted with 1,500 keeper trout before the opener and another 1,000 to boost fishing in May.

There also is a modest warmwater fishery including largemouth bass.

Access is limited to a primitive WDFW launch area on the southwestern shore off Lake Walker Drive, and it’s fairly steep with limited parking. Bank access is only available right at the WDFW site, so getting out on the water will help increase your fishing success.

Lake Walker is mostly surrounded by homes but is in an otherwise rural area east of Naco and Nolte State Park. It’s a little over a half hour’s drive from Auburn.

Google Map and Directions to Lake Walker

Washington, Lake

Seagull overlooking large boats docked at Lake Washington.

This simply mammoth lake offers a huge variety of fishing opportunities in the heart of the Seattle-Bellevue area.

As with Lake Sammamish to its east, the 22,000-acre Lake Washington has a notable resident population of coastal cutthroat trout that are popular with cold-water anglers. These trout can get very large here.

Anglers also can keep five kokanee here, with a slot limit size to protect their migratory sockeye salmon relatives.

There also is a fall coho salmon fishery in part of the lake, so read regulations carefully so you know where, when and what you can legally catch and keep.

Chinook and sockeye salmon and steelhead trout migrate through the lake, but rules are in place to help protect these species. Special harvests may open in-season if big runs are expected. Again, read the rules carefully.

Warmwater enthusiasts have quite an array of opportunities, including some of the region’s better fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch and black crappie.

More: Lake Washington Fishing

Google Map and Directions to Lake Washington*

*Read our full Lake Washington article for the many bank and pier fishing and boat launch areas.

Wilderness, Lake

This Maple Valley lake isn’t a big one at 66 acres, but it’s a big one if you want to catch your limit of rainbow trout, because it’s stocked with some 12,000 hatchery trout each year before its late April opener.

Lake Wilderness also has some pretty decent largemouth bass fishing and at times has been a spot where you also could round up some kokanee, or land-locked sockeye salmon.

More: Fishing at Lake Wilderness

Google Map and Directions to Lake Wilderness

Fishing in Neighboring Counties

Snohomish County: To the north, lots of lakes filled with trout and other game fish, plus salmon and steelhead rivers near Everett.

Chelan and Douglas Counties: To the northeast, the fantastic Lake Chelan and lots of other places to catch trout, bass, inland salmon and more near Wenatchee.

Kittitas County: To the southeast, famous fly fishing water on the Yakima River and lots of lakes stuffed with trout and other game fish near Ellensburg.

Pierce County: To the south, from salmon and trout near Tacoma to hike-in lakes in the high mountains, surprising number of fishing spots for such a populous county.

Kitsap County: To the west, Kitsap Peninsula has quite a few nicely stocked trout lakes as well as access to much of the South Puget Sound and Hood Canal.

Washington Resources

WDFW Fishing and Stocking Reports
WDFW Fishing Regulations
National Weather Service forecasts

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