Okanogan County is the largest county in all of Washington, and it’s also easily among the top counties for sheer numbers of high-quality fishing spots.
This entire county that stretches across the north-central part of the state only has a bit over 40,000 people, about the size of a modest suburb over the mountains in the Puget Sound area.
But we’d dare to say the numbers of game fish here are counted in the millions, including almost too many awesome trout lakes to count, and many great waters with landlocked salmon such as kokanee, and with salmon, steelhead, walleye, bass and other favorite game fish.
As such, Okanogan County is a favorite outdoor playground for anglers and other adventurers coming from more populated parts of the state.
The largest city, Omak, and the county seat, Okanogan, are fairly central in the Interstate 97 corridor, and most of the county’s permanent population is located in that corridor, in the Methow River Valley or along several state highways.
Other cities include Brewster, Oroville, Pateros and Tonasket.
The Colville Indian Reservation stretches across much of the southeast part of the county.
Geographic features here include the Cascade Mountains, Columbia River, North Gardner Mountain, Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, Nez Perce National Historical Park, the Colville Tribal Museum, and more.
Visitors also come for wineries, ghost towns, historic sites and what is boasted as North America’s largest network of cross-county ski system.
The rest of this article lists some of the better fishing spots with links to more information.
And sure, Okanogan County has fishing for almost everyone’s tastes. But there’s also some fishing opportunities beyond the county border that are worth your attention.
Once you’ve read through this article, we suggest you check out the “Fishing in Neighboring Counties” feature down below. Its links will take you to the best fishing in nearby counties.
One of two fly fishing only waters in the county, Aeneas Lake offers a fishing season from late April through the end of October.
Aeneas is stocked with thousands of young trout in the late spring, with brown, tiger and rainbow trout all in the mix. These fish grow into large fighters, especially by the following years.
Aeneas Lake is a 50-acre scenic lowland lake near the Horse Spring Coulee Wildlife Area.
Rainbow and brown trout are often most abundant and there is a one-fish daily limit, and that fish must be an exceptional 18 inches or better.
Expect most rainbows to be smaller in the 12- to 15-inch range along with brown and tiger trout usually to 16 inches.
There is a gravel boat launch, camping and restrooms on site.
This lake is best fished with a pontoon boat, small rowboat, or float tube, as no motors are allowed.
Bank access is somewhat limited due to private property.
Aeneas lake is located east of North Pine Creek Road via Windy Flat Road about 10 minutes southeast of Tonasket.
Alta Lake is a couple of miles from Pateros, near the lower end of the Methow Valley.
This lake is known for its rainbow trout (including some big ones) as well as a spot you might land kokanee.
Just over 200 acres, Alta opens in late April to the end of October.
The lake is stocked with about 1,500 catchable trout, plus a few much larger trout, in mid- to late spring.
More than 30,000 young rainbow trout plus kokanee are planted earlier in the spring to grow into legal sizes at the lake.
Alta is a popular deep lake with anglers as fishing holds up quite well throughout the summer. Trolling lures or spinners baited with worms is popular here.
There is a state park with camping and boat launching facilities, as well as a private resort with cabins and gravel launch site.
Expect most rainbows to be in the 11- to 13-inch range, along with carryovers to 16 inches.
Kokanee fishing has taken off, with anglers regularly harvesting fish similar in size to typical trout here.
There is good shoreline access near the state park boat launch on the north shore and at Whistlin’ Pine Ranch.
At almost 3,000 feet in elevation, Aspen Lake has a fishing season that is open year-round.
The small reservoir is stocked with a modest number of catchable rainbows as well as younger brook and tiger trout.
Anglers often catch triploid brook trout and tiger trout in the 10- or 11-inch range. You might see cutthroat here also. The brookies count toward your trout limit here.
Located in the Methow/Sawtooth Wilderness Area, the 8-acre lake lends itself well to float tubes. Shore access is mostly good.
Anglers must park at the end of gated Frost Road and walk the remaining mile to the lake.
The lake’s shore is fenced off to prevent damage by grazing animals. It can be accessed through a pedestrian gate at the east end of the dam.
Beaver Lake, Big
A popular seasonal trout fishing lake with three types of trout, Big Beaver Lake is the largest in a string of three fishing lakes along Beaver Creek, along with Little Beaver and Beth lakes.
This lake is about 30 acres in size with an elevation nearing 3,000 feet.
Big Beaver Lake is stocked with about 500 catchable rainbows in about May. It also is stocked with a larger number of younger rainbows as well as some tiger trout.
The rainbows caught here are often pan-sized or a little bigger.
You might also catch westslope cutthroats.
The fishing season here opens in late April and runs through October.
A U.S. Forest Service campground is located at the lake and includes a gravel boat launch.
There is a nice family campground near Tonasket located on Bonaparte Lake Road.
Shoreline can be accessed from Chesaw Road in far northeastern Okanogan County.
Beaver Lake, Little
This 7-acre lake near larger neighbors has some rainbows as well as tiger trout.
Anglers may also come across brook trout, which in this lake are counted toward the daily trout limit.
The lake currently is open seasonally, a change from past regulations. Be sure to check before fishing.
Extensive cattails make this lake difficult to fish from shore, but there’s good access for boats and watercraft. A small dirt boat ramp can accommodate small watercraft.
A few hundred catchables and young rainbow trout are planted in this 25-acre lake during the late spring, when trout fishing is best.
The rainbows caught at Beth Lake are often 10 to 12 inches.
They also might be joined by some stocked tiger trout, and there may be a few westslope cutthroat trout as well.
Lake chubs have been illegally introduced and in recent years have been abundant.
Beth Lake, part of a string of lakes with Big and Little Beaver lakes listed above, is about 25 acres and almost 3,000 feet in elevation.
There is a U.S. Forest Service campground with a concrete boat launch.
Bank anglers will find access from Chesaw Road and also a trail encircling the lake.
Blue Lake (Limebelt)
This fishing spot is in the Tonasket area and is mostly fished these days for brook and tiger trout.
This Blue Lake (one of several in the county and among many in Washington) is about 15 acres at about 2,500 feet elevation with year-round fishing.
The brook and tiger trout are stocked, and there may be an occasional westslope cutthroat trout as well.
There is a WDFW campsite with shoreline access.
The lake also can be popular for ice fishing and snowmobiling.
This scenic Blue Lake is located on Limebelt Road about 40 minutes north of Omak.
Blue Lake (Sinlahekin)
This larger Blue Lake is over 200 acres with a fishing season from late April through October 31.
Several thousand young brown and tiger trout are planted in May. You may also come across rainbow trout here.
Located within Sinlahekin Wildlife Area, Blue Lake fishes best in May and June and then again in September and October.
During the hotter summer months, use weighted lines to troll deeper parts of the lake.
There is a WDFW access site with camping, toilets and gravel boat launch.
Expect two age classes of trout, with yearling fish 10-12 inches and holdovers in the 13-15 inch range. Browns up to 18 inches are also caught.
This is largely a catch-and-release lake by virtue of a limit that includes just one trout at least 18 inches in length.
There are selective gear rules and special rules restricting lead use.
There is good access from the road and camping areas.
The lake is about 25 minutes south of Loomis on Sinlahekin Road.
Blue Lake (Wannacut)
This deep lake near the larger Wannacut Lake in the northern part of the county provides one of the few opportunities in Okanogan County to fish for Lahontan cutthroat trout.
The lake is about 115 acres and opens to fishing in late April. It’s often stocked with several thousand young cutthroats are planted late in the year to grow into keeper sizes for the next season.
The majority of these Lahontans are in the 12- to 18-inch range, but your one fish in a daily limit must be at least 18 inches so most fish must be released..
Fishing is best in May and June, slows in the heat of summer, and then improves again in September and October.
In July and August, you can still catch cutthroats but try fishing deep with weighted flies and lures to get down to the fish.
Selective gear rules in effect
A WDFW campsite with gravel boat launch is available, but no internal combustion motors are allowed. Bank access is somewhat limited.
The lake is only 5-6 miles southwest of Oroville.
This lake of around 150 acres is a bit of a drive but has a lot going on for anglers, with fishing for four kinds of trout as well as kokanee and smallmouth bass.
Bonaparte Lake these days is most often stocked with triploid Eastern brook trout. Most of those are small fish that grow in the lake, but some lunkers also go in.
The lake is further stocked with thousands of young tiger trout and kokanee, plus a modest number of catchable rainbow trout.
The lake can grow big fish and has produced the state record tiger trout.
Speaking of big fish, there also is a population of lake trout, also known as Mackinaw, which love deep lakes with smaller fish to eat.
Fish biologists are happy for you to keep your limit of the smallmouth bass, which are quite abundant.
This can also be a good spot to go ice fishing.
There are special rules regarding lead tackle in effect here.
This scenic lake has a Forest Service campground and private resort with camping, cabins and boat launching.
It is located about 40 minutes northeast of Tonasket.
Buck Lake is more than 20 acres and open year-round for predominantly rainbow trout planted in May and June.
Buck Lake is stocked with catchables and a couple dozen very large trout in late spring. It also is planted each year with about 1,000 smaller rainbows that grow into bigger fish.
Also called Shaw or Frost, this lake is best fished with floating devices such as float tubes, pontoon boats, or small rowboats, which can be launched from the bank.
This is an early and late season producer, but it can also be fished during winter through the ice.
Winterkills are possible here, which may reduce the number of larger holdover trout, but the catchables stocked around May should perk things up.
Shore access is good for anglers along the roadway.
Big Buck Lake is about 35 minutes north of Winthrop.
This large and deep lake is located on the Colville Indian Reservation, so you’ll need a tribal fishing permit and to follow tribal fishing regulations.
Buffalo Lake has a varied fishery including lots of rainbow trout, some brook trout, landlocked salmon, and even a very nice largemouth bass population.
There are a couple of resorts, but even so this lake is somewhat off the radar and might very well be worth exploring.
Buzzard Lake is primarily a rainbow trout fishing lake, managed for larger fish, with the best fishing in late spring after it is planted with catchables and some much larger trout.
The 15-acre lake also is stocked with younger trout that grow into legal fish by foraging in the lake.
Fishing season late April through October and may start out on the cool side because it sits at about 3,000 feet.
There is a WDFW access site with an unimproved boat launch and camping area.
Buzzard Lake can from time to time suffer winterkill, in which cases it will need to be restocked before it fishes well. If winter survival is good, then expect to catch rainbows up to 18 inches, which is the minimum size to keep a single trout here.
Selective gear rules are in effect
Cattails rim the lake and make bank fishing tough, so plan to bring a float tube or small watercraft for better success.
Buzzard Lake It located about 30 minutes west of Omak and Okanogan using Buzzard Lake Road off State Route 20.
This smallish lake of about 10 acres is a good spot to catch some nice-sized rainbow trout.
Campbell Lake is now open to year-round fishing, but at almost 3,000 feet elevation, winters will be bitter.
Campbell is stocked in the late spring months, typically with several hundred catchable rainbows, a few dozen really large ones, and quite a few young ones.
The daily bag limit has been changed to two trout over 14 inches.
There is a WDFW access site with a gravel boat launch, and Campbell Lake is best fished with a small boat or float tube due to heavy vegetation.
Water levels have risen dramatically since 2014 wildfires, creating excellent conditions for carryover rainbows.
Good shoreline access however heavy vegetation along shoreline makes bank fishing difficult.
Campbell Lake is located about a 20-minute drive southeast of Winthrop in the Methow Wildlife Area.
This Methow River tributary offers short seasonal trout fishing as well as opportunities to catch wintertime whitefish.
In the lower river below the confluence of Eightmile Creek, the stream is catch and release from the Memorial Day weekend through August 15.
Both the lower and farther upstream to the Pasayten Wilderness area have a whitefish season from December through February, following state rules for that fishery.
This stream’s name is sometimes listed as Chewack.
One of two fly fishing only lakes within Okanogan County, Chopaka Lake has the reputation of being one of the top fly fishing lakes in the state.
At about 140 acres and almost 3,000 feet elevation, the season opens in late April and runs through October.
About 4,000 young rainbow trout are planted in about June. WDFW also is likely to add about 150 much larger trout, but even the youngsters can grow large here.
You’ll have to find the big ones if you want dinner, as the daily limit here is one trout of at least 18 inches. Many anglers practice strictly catch-and-release.
There are two campgrounds located on the lake, and two small graveled boat launches that will help you reach more fish.
You can readily expect rainbow trout in the 12- to 18-inch range at this popular fishery, but expect to walk a bit to get to these fish.
Chopaka Lake is located 30 minutes north of Loomis and 40 minutes south of Nighthawk. Expect about an hour’s drive from Oroville and Osoyoos Lake, an area with more amenities in this north county area.
More: Chopaka Lake Fly Fishing
The Columbia River winds through the countryside and forms the southern border of Okanogan County.
This stretch of river around Brewster and below Chief Joseph Dam offers quite a good fishery, with opportunities for Chinook and sockeye salmon and hatchery steelhead, including at the mouth of the Okanogan River.
Walleye fishing can be good, and other warmwater fish can offer good action.
The reservoirs upriver are listed under Rufus Woods Reservoir and Lake Roosevelt.
More: Columbia River Fishing
This is the longer and narrower “upper lake” in relation to the somewhat larger Conconully Reservoir (see below).
This approximately 300-acre seasonal lake is primarily fished for rainbow trout and kokanee.
It is stocked each spring with a few thousand catchable rainbow trout, including a few hundred very large ones. It also is stocked with thousands of younger trout that grow into keepers in the lake.
The majority of trout are in the 10- to 12-inch range, but 15-inchers aren’t uncommon.
Additionally, Conconully Lake is stocked with about 25,000 young kokanee, and these landlocked sockeye salmon grow to pan-sized keepers at the lake.
Conconully Lake (sometimes called Salmon Lake) is a very popular opening day lake in late April and on through the spring.
The lake also is home to largemouth bass, but fish biologists encourage anglers to keep their limits of these non-native game fish here to reduce their impact on the trout and kokanee.
There is a state park including a boat launch, with some bank access near the launch. Bank access elsewhere is limited by private property.
The lake is just east of the town of Conconully via Sinlahekin Road.
Conconully Reservoir is larger and wider than Conconully Lake, at about 450 acres, but it has a similar fishing focus with excellent opportunities for rainbow trout and kokanee.
The “lower lake” is planted with similar numbers of catchable and young rainbows as the upper lake listed above, and also is open seasonally.
This larger reservoir often is stocked with even more kokanee.
The reservoir is part of Conconully State Park, which features camping and more than 5,000 feet of shoreline.
Like Conconully Lake, this reservoir also has bass (both largemouth and smallmouth) that WDFW would prefer anglers thin out to give the trout and landlocked salmon priority on the food chain.
There also have been some brook trout caught in the reservoir.
There are two private resorts on the lake with cabins, camping, docks and boat launch sites.
Public roads south from Conconully follow both sides of the reservoir.
The Conconully area is about 25 minutes northwest of Omak.
See the Conconully Lake entry above for a link to more information.
This 25-acre lake in the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area features three kinds of trout.
It is stocked with young Eastern brook and tiger trout each spring, and you might also catch a rainbow trout here. Expect most brook trout to be 9 to 13 inches.
Conners Lake is open for fishing in late April through October, with the best fishing in May and June.
There is camping and a small gravel boat launch available.
Cattails line the shore, making a small boat or float tube a better option. Also, weed growth later in the summer tends to hamper access.
Conners Lake is a short drive south of Loomis.
Cougar Lake is a small lake that offers both summer and winter fishing, especially for rainbow trout.
It is stocked with a modest number of catchable rainbows as well as more young rainbows that grow into keepers in the lake. There may be some tiger trout as well.
Fall and winter can be good for rainbow trout that have reached the 12- to 14-inch range.
We haven’t seen any recent reports of restoration following damage from mudslides in 2014, following wildfires in the area.
Selective gear rules are in effect here and no gas motors are allowed.
Anglers also need to be aware of gear and lower bag limits.
Several shoreline areas can be accessed via a trail on the west side of the lake, which is in the Methow Wildlife Area east of Winthrop.
Crawfish Lake is a high-mountain spot of about 80 acres that is good for both brook and rainbow trout, both of which are stocked by the thousands as young fish and grow into keepers in the lake.
Crawfish Lake straddles the Colville reservation, so boundary waters rules apply. A tribal permit is required to fish the southern half on the reservation, while a state license works for boat fishing or fishing on the bank off the reservation.
The lake, at almost 4,500 feet elevation, is open for fishing from late April through October.
Most of the trout caught here are in the 10- to 12-inch range, and the brook trout are counted in your trout limit.
There is a Forest Service campground and boat launch, but no internal combustion engines are allowed.
The lake is located about a 45-minute drive northeast of Omak.
This approximately 40-acre lake near Winthrop is stocked with rainbow trout of all sizes but also offers fishing for kokanee, largemouth bass, sunfish and Eastern brook trout.
Davis Lake is now open all year, but note that there is a limited harvest opportunity for trout and selective gear rules are in effect.
Davis can be good for ice fishing.
There is a WDFW access area with a gravel launch site at the north end.
Located about 10 minutes driving southeast of Winthrop.
This small spot has year-round fishing for rainbow trout.
Dibble Lake is planted with about 100 catchables as well as younger fish each spring.
Access to the lake is granted under a cooperative agreement with the landowner and requires a short walk to the lake from a parking area.
You’ll have more success with a float tube because bank access is limited to one end of the 5-acre lake.
If overwinter survival is good, expect to catch rainbows in the 11- to 13-inch range.
Dibble Lake is south of Winthrop off Lake View Road.
This 20-acre lake southeast of Tonasket is stocked with a modest number of rainbow trout, including catchables and younger fish.
Fishing season is open year-round at Ell Lake, but low water levels have resulted in lower fish plants here.
There is a WDFW access area located at the lake, but small boats and float tubes must be carried to the shoreline. No gas motors are allowed.
Selective gear rules are in effect.
The lake is on Aeneas Valley Road.
Fanchers Dam Pond
Fanchers Dam Pond is an irrigation reservoir about 25 acres in size that is modestly stocked with rainbow trout.
Expect most of your trout catch to be rainbows in the 10- to 12-inch range, plus the potential to catch an Eastern brook trout or two.
Although bank access is fair in a few spots, this lake is best fished with a small boat or float tube.
Fanchers Dam Pond is located northeast of Tonasket, off Swanson Mill Road.
This lake is just over 100 acres, with good numbers of rainbow trout to 12 inches and occasional carryovers into the teens.
Fish Lake is located within Sinlahekin Wildlife Area and tends to be one of the more popular opening day waters in Okanogan County. It is open to fishing from late April through October.
It’s typically stocked with a good number of catchable trout and a few hundred very large trout in May.
Fish Lake also is planted with 20,000 or so younger trout that grow larger in the lake and are ready to bite come spring.
Since public land surrounds the lake, shore access is very good.
Fish Lake is located about a half hour northwest of Omak along Fish Lake Road near Sinlahekin Road.
These Omak-area lakes are managed as quality trout waters, with restrictive bag limits for a couple of larger trout.
Big Green Lake is about 45 acres and is well-stocked with rainbow trout, including quite a few legal and younger fish and even a handful of jumbo-sized trout.
Little Green Lake, under 10 acres, is stocked with a much smaller number of rainbow trout but also gets a batch of younger triploid Eastern brook trout.
The lakes are open year-round and may offer an opportunity for ice fishing if wintertime conditions cooperate.
The daily limit for both lakes is just two trout of at least 14 inches, and brookies are counted in that limit.
Also, selective gear rules are in effect, so no bait-fishing and use barbless hooks so you can release fish unharmed, as many will likely be too small to keep while you look for larger trout that are in the mix.
You’ll find camping and boat launches at the lakes.
The lakes are about 20 minutes northwest of Omak, on Green Lake Road.
This small year-round lake is stocked with a couple hundred catchable rainbow trout in about May, when fishing should be good.
Hess Lake also is planted with younger rainbows each year to stretch out the fishing success, but note that this lake tends to get a fair bit of weed growth as the warm season progresses.
There also are crappie in the 7-acre lake.
Hess Lake is on private property but the owners have given access to anglers from the roadway.
The lake is located off Conconully Lake Road east of Riverside.
This is a decent-sized lake with both very good fishing for quality trout as well as an excellent opportunity for warmwater angling close by for many county visitors.
Leader Lake is stocked with some 4,000 catchable rainbows in about May as well as 5,000 catchable tiger trout in about October.
Spring and fall seasons will be ideal for catching trout into the 14-inch range at the approximately 150-acre lake, but this also can be a good wintertime fishing hole.
Besides trout, there are good numbers of bluegill, crappie and yellow perch, as well as some largemouth bass.
Leader Lake has DNR campgrounds on both sides that include boat launches.
Leader Lake is on Leader Lake Road a short distance off State Route 20. It’s only 20-25 minutes from Omak or Okanogan.
This Tonasket-area fishing spot is stocked with a few hundred catchable rainbow trout in about May, as well as more younger trout that grow into pan-sized keepers by the following year.
The 15-acre lake opens for fishing in late April.
As long as the water level holds up, there is a usable boat launch, and getting out on the lake is preferred because private property surrounding most of the lake severely limits bank fishing access.
Long Lake is located about 25 minutes from Tonasket heading southeast on State Route 20 and Aeneas Valley Road.
This common-named lake is near Bonaparte Lake in northeastern Okanogan County and is best fished for triploid Eastern brook trout, which are stocked as young fish and grow into keepers.
The 45-acre Lost Lake also is stocked with about 75 really big rainbow trout in May.
You can’t use an internal combustion engine or most lead tackle here, but you can fish it all year long, although note that it sits at about 4,000 feet in elevation.
There is a Forest Service campground and a gravel boat launch.
It’s about a 50-minute drive northeast of Tonasket.
This very small lake southeast of Tonasket is stocked with a few hundred triploid Eastern brook trout and also has some cutthroat trout.
Only about 4 acres at almost 3,000 feet in elevation, the lake is open to year-round fishing.
There is camping and shore access for small boats or float tubes.
Note that at least once heavy algae blooms killed off most of the fish here, but WDFW has resumed stocking.
The lake is located off Aeneas Valley Road about 45 minutes from Tonasket.
Mary Ann Lake
Only 2 acres and almost 3,500 feet elevation Mary Ann offers a year-round fishing, primarily for Eastern brook trout stocked as young fish.
You’ll be picking pan-sized brook trout out of small pockets of water between cattails and brush, which limit shoreline access. Try a float tube.
Mary Ann Lake is located within the Chesaw Wildlife Area along Mary Anne Creek Road.
It’s about a half our east of Oroville and a bit longer of a drive heading northeast from Tonasket.
This river is primarily fished for trout these days, although historically it has offered up some very good steelhead fishing.
Trout fishing is primarily catch-and-release, although there are reaches where you can keep brook trout.
Steelhead fishing is regulated, so watch for special seasons should the numbers of fish returning here rebound.
The stream also has opportunities for wintertime whitefish angling under state rules for that fishery.
More: Methow River Fishing
Molson Lake near Oroville is often best known for its ice fishing but also good for trout at other times of the year.
The 20-acre lake is stocked with about 1,500 young brook trout and a smaller number of catchable rainbows, in both spring and fall.
Shore access is limited to the parking area, so a small boat or float tube is your best bet.
Molson has joined with nearby Sidley Lake to co-host the Northwest Ice Fishing Festival in January.
Molson Lake is about 25 minutes northeast of Oroville on Molson Lake Road.
This stream flows south from Osoyoos Lake into the Columbia River down near Brewster.
These days the river is hot if underrated for smallmouth bass, which can provide excellent action here.
Good bass water is found near Oroville on the upper end as well as near Tonasket, Omak and Okanogan.
Walleye also can be caught in the Okanogan River, typically in lower reaches closer to the Columbia. Several species of panfish also appear in the catch sometimes.
Trout are here in modest numbers but must be released. Whitefish also inhabit the river.
Steelhead are off-limits in the Okanogan River under typical regulations but watch for special openings if the runs are good.
Note that the eastern bank of much of the lower Okanogan River is in the Colville Indian Reservation, so consult the Colville Tribes website for guidance.
This giant lake is high in salinity, making it primarily good habitat for Lahontan cutthroat trout, which can grow exceptionally large here.
The state record was caught here and the next one might be as well.
Omak Lake is on the Colville Indian Reservation, meaning the tribe sets the regulations and anglers will need a tribal fishing permit to go after the Lahontans.
There is a resort and fishing guides ply these waters.
This is a massive lake that stretches well into British Columbia.
The lower lake in Washington covers more than 2,000 acres near Oroville and has quite a variety of fish, including trout and kokanee, but WDFW doesn’t stock it and those cold water fish are fairly hard to catch, although sometimes kokanee fishing is worthwhile.
Sockeye salmon do migrate into Osoyoos Lake but aren’t caught much on the Washington end.
Chinook salmon and steelhead also make their way through the reservoir as well but are typically off-limits to anglers.
More common are the smallmouth bass that have set up residence in good numbers here, which provide some excellent fishing from late spring into early fall.
Other fish species caught here include perch and other panfish.
The banks are mostly lined with private property.
The best access in Washington is at Osoyoos Veteran’s Memorial Park near the outlet at the south end, where you can launch a boat into the upper Okanogan River and motor up into the big lake.
Located near Loomis, Palmer Lake offers a very diverse fishery including lots of good-sized kokanee and a variety of trout, burbot and warmwater species.
The 2,000-acre lake is stocked with about 75,000 young kokanee in the spring, which provide one of the major fishing opportunities here.
The lake is not currently stocked with trout but does have some rainbows.
More common are warmwater fish, including both largemouth and smallmouth bass, black crappie, and bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish.
Yellow perch can be numerous here as well, and can be caught all year, including through the winter ice.
Palmer also has burbot, also known as freshwater lings, and had produced a previous state record through the ice.
There also are a variety of fish not always considered among favorite sport fish but which might show up on your hook, including mountain whitefish, largescale suckers, common carp, peamouth and northern pikeminnows.
There is an access site with concrete boat launch, and a site with gravel launch and camping areas.
There also is a private resort with cabins and RV spots.
Palmer Lake is about a 10-minute drive north of Loomis.
Patterson Lake is a medium-sized lake known for both trout and kokanee fishing all year long.
The Winthrop-area lake is about 150 acres and also offers a variety of other fish to catch and is a popular ice fishing stop in the winter.
Patterson Lake is typically stocked with about 4,000 catchable trout, often in October, as well as some 15,000 kokanee fry.
Other fish you’ll find include largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill and possibly some tiger trout.
Starting in mid- to late spring through fall can be good for typical angling, while ice anglers tend to mostly catch trout, kokanee and yellow perch in winter.
There is a WDFW access site with gravel boat launch in addition to a private resort with cabins and small boat rentals.
Shore access is from the road alongside the lake and from the WDFW parking lot.
Patterson Lake is located about 15 minutes southwest of Winthrop.
This nearly 200-acre lake in the Methow Valley is best fished for its many rainbow trout.
Pearrygin Lake is open for fishing from late April through late October.
It’s typically stocked with about 1,500 catchable and 150 very large rainbow trout in May, but it should have biting trout even before that because it’s also stocked with about 50,000 young trout each year.
Pearrygin State Park is a very popular 743-acre camping area with a boat launch site, a WDFW access site with gravel boat ramp, and a private resort with camping and gravel boat launch.
Pearrygin also is popular due to its close proximity to the western theme town of Winthrop. You’ll share the lake with many other types of recreational watersports, especially in the summer.
Expect to catch rainbows in the 10- to 13-inch range, along with carryover fish to 15 inches. You may also find the occasional brown trout here but rainbows are the name of the game here.
There is access at both the state park and a WDFW access.
Pearrygin Lake is less than 10 minutes northeast of Winthrop.
More: Pearrygin Lake Fishing
A bit over 60 acres, this Brewster-area fishing hole is well stocked with several types of trout for year-round fishing.
Rainbow trout are planted in the form of more than 1,000 catchables and a couple hundred very large trout around May, followed up by plantings of younger fish that grow at the lake.
Rat Lake is also stocked with around 7,000 young brown trout in May and 1,000 catchable tiger trout in the fall.
Ice fishing can be good here as well.
Rat Lake now is managed for quality trout, meaning anglers can keep just two trout over 14 inches. Selective gear rules are in effect so leave the bait off your barbless hooks.
Expect most trout to be in the 11- to 15-inch range, although browns in particular can get a bit bigger.
There is a WDFW access area with a concrete boat launch site.
Shore access is available on the west side of lake within DNR property
Rat Lake is about 15 minutes north of Brewster, taking Paradise Hill Road.
This is a small lake in the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area north of Loomis, with brook trout to catch.
The lake is open from late April through October.
Along with triploid Eastern brook trout, you might also find tiger trout. Most trout at Reflection Lake are 10 to 11 inches.
From the parking lot, shore access is pretty good around the lower end of the lake. A float tube also will serve you well.
Reflection Lake is located south of Loomis on Sinlahekin Road.
The very lowest portion of this massive Columbia River impoundment above Grand Coulee Dam borders Okanogan County.
The largest reservoir in Washington offers quite a variety of fishing opportunities, including various trout including big rainbows (including Kamloops) as well as cutthroat, brookies and Dolly Varden.
There also are kokanee, sturgeon and some of the top warmwater species including walleye, smallmouth bass, and a variety of panfish.
More: Lake Roosevelt Fishing
This smallish lake in the Aeneas Valley area is a popular opening day lake for catching keeper rainbow trout.
The 20-acre lake is stocked with a moderate number of catchable rainbows as well as a few dozen very large ones.
Addtionally, Round Lake is planted with several thousand young rainbows, and those that survive grow to join the other planters in anglers’ catches.
Shoreline access is generally good.
Low water conditions had made launching tough some years, but at last word increased water has put the boat launch back in business.
The fishing season is from late April through late October.
Round Lake is located a little more than 20 minutes from Tonasket on Aeneas Valley Road, between Long Lake and Ell Lake (see separate listings in this article).
Rufus Woods Reservoir
This Columbia River reservoir between Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams has some awesome fishing opportunities, including for triploid and regular rainbow trout.
Other popular gamefish here include kokanee and a variety of warmwater species, especially walleye but also bass and yellow perch.
Sanpoil River, West Fork
This stream southeast of Tonasket in the Aeneas Valley area can have some fairly good fishing for brook and rainbow trout, as well as whitefish, in the upper river flowing through Okanogan County.
The peak of the season is typically right after spring runoff.
You’ll need a tribal permit where the lower West Fork flows through the Colville Indian Reservation to the mainstem, but much of the West Fork is off Colville land.
The majority of the Sanpoil River system is in Ferry County and on the reservation.
This pond of about 10 acres next to Fish Lake is stocked with a moderate number of juvenile triploid brook trout, which grow into keepers that are usually about 10 or so inches in length when caught.
Schallow Pond, also known as Schallow Lake, used to suffer from overabundant brown bullhead catfish as well as smallmouth and largemouth bass, but the warmwater species were killed out some years back and the pond has been restocked with trout.
This is a better early season lake, as the weed growth gets heavy from mid-summer on.
Also, shoreline access is quite limited, so a float tube or other small craft will serve you well.
You’ll have to work just a little to get here, because it’s about a 1-mile walk from Fish Lake to Schallow Pond.
The small reservoir is located in the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area northeast of Conconully, off Fish Lake Road.
Along with neighboring Molson Lake, Sidley Lake is the site of the popular Northwest Ice Fishing Festival in January.
The almost 110-acre lake just below the Canadian border is open all year, but at nearly 4,000 feet in elevation, fishing for rainbow trout tends to hit peaks both in summer and again in winter.
The lake is typically stocked in the late spring and again in the fall to give a boost to both prime seasons.
There is a WDFW access site with gravel boat launch, and plenty of shoreline access along the road.
The lake is located about 25 minutes northeast of Oroville via Molson Road.
Silver Nail Lake
This small lake near Oroville is set aside for young anglers, who should be able to land hatchery rainbow trout.
Silver Nail Lake is stocked with a small number of catchable rainbows as well as smaller fish in the late and first of summer, when fishing is best here.
There are limited spots to fish from shore, so a small boat carried to launch on the bank can work really well.
The lake is open to juvenile and senior anglers, as well as anglers with a disability and a designated companion harvester card.
Silver Nail Lake is just north of Oroville and west of Osoyoos Lake and U.S. 97, just below the Canadian border.
This stream flows down from Canada and joins the Okanogan River at Oroville.
Access is good from Loomis-Oroville Road for a shortened catch-and-release season for trout, in July, August and the first half of September.
There also is a winter whitefish season from December through February, although take note that the river can freeze over.
Steelhead fishing is prohibited in the lower Similkameen River under annual regulations but watch for emergency openings if the run turns out to be good enough, as at times the steelheading here has been quite good.
You might also catch some bass, especially smallmouth, in this river.
This stream through a wildlife area of the same name as well as lots of private property.
Access can be difficult, but the creek is home to pretty good numbers of brook and rainbow trout.
You can keep trout here under statewide rules, but no bait or barbed hooks are allowed.
There also are whitefish in the stream and a whitefish-only fishery from December through February. Make sure you know whitefish rules before partaking.
Smith Lake is stocked with a modest number of small rainbow trout, which grow into pan-sized keepers.
The 10-acre Okanogan-area lake is best fished from a small watercraft or float tube because steep banks limit the amount of bank access you’ll find here.
Smith Lake is located southwest of Okanogan on DNR property.
This good-sized lake can offer excellent angling for both rainbow trout and kokanee.
Long and fairly narrow for its more than 300 acres, Spectacle Lake gets going after it is stocked with about 10,000 catchable rainbows in the early spring. It also is planted with about 30,000 young trout that eventually add to the trout catches.
Many trout are caught in the 10- to 12-inch range, but holdover trout to about 15 inches are fairly common.
Additionally, WDFW stocks Spectacle Lake with more than 50,000 kokanee (landlocked sockeye salmon) that grow into pan-sized battlers.
The lake also is home to a variety of warmwater fish, including largemouth that often run on the small side here, plus yellow perch, and bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish, all of which are fun to catch.
There is plenty of access including multiple boat launches here with public WDFW access and private resorts.
The highway provides access to plenty of bank fishing spots.
Good access along Loomis-Oroville Road, which borders the north side of the lake.
Located just a few miles east of Loomis, it’s also only about a 20-minute drive from Tonasket.
This chain of three small lakes north of Brewster is most often fished early in the season for several types of trout planted here.
The upper lake is about 6 acres and often is planted with young Eastern brook trout.
Middle Starzman Lake, which is about 8 acres, has been scheduled for stocking with rainbow trout, including a smallish number of catchables and several hundred younger trout.
The area is recovering from wildfire in 2014 and the road in can be rough and most anglers opt to hike in the final quarter mile rather than risk bottoming out their four-wheel-drive vehicles.
The lakes are suited for either bank angling or fishing from float tubes, but expect rapid weed growth to make access more difficult as the warm season goes on.
Starzman Lakes are located on BLM land north of Brewster, reached via Northstar Road.
This is another smallish lake stocked with young brook trout, although the occasional rainbow may also bite your hook.
There is a Forest Service campground with a gravel launch site suitable for small boats.
A trail around the lake offers good bank fishing opportunities.
Sugarloaf Lake is located a few miles northeast of Conconully on Sinlahekin Road.
This fairly high-elevation lake has suffered from winterkills during harsh years, but WDFW restocks it and Summit Lake can be good for trout fishing.
Recent plantings have included young brook and tiger trout, and historically there have been cutthroat and rainbow here at times as well.
Generally, the small lake of about 15 acres gets off to a slow start being at nearly 4,300 feet in elevation, but summertime fishing can be good at Summit Lake.
There are lots of lily pads around the lake, which can make bank fishing pretty tough, so consider using a float tube, pontoon boat or other small watercraft.
There are several campsites at Summit Lake.
These two Winthrop area lakes are popular spots for fly and lure anglers, as bait fishing and barbed hooks are banned in both waters.
Big Twin Lake is about 75 acres and is typically stocked with rainbow trout of all sizes, ranging from lots of smaller fish, some catchables and a smaller number of very large fish. Trout stocking typically occurs around May and June.
There also are cutthroat trout in Big Twin, but take note that all trout must be at least 18 inches to keep … and just one per day.
Typically the very best fishing is in May and June and again in September and October. In July and August, fish in the deep water.
There’s are WDFW access sites at the lake, with a gravel boat launch.
There also is a private resort with a camping and boat launch area.
Little Twin Lake is about 20 acres in size and has rainbow trout but also is stocked with brook trout.
A carry-in boat or float tube will serve you well, as bank access is limited beyond a WDFW site with a steep gravel boat launch.
Selective gear rules apply to both lakes, which are located along Twin Lakes Road less than 10 minutes south of Winthrop.
Long-time anglers in the area may remember when this stream was stocked with trout, but those days have passed and these days the stream is strictly catch-and-release for all game fish, including in tributaries open to fishing.
Naturally, selective gear rules also are in effect.
Note the full closure of the mainstem above War Creek.
The Twisp flows into the Methow River at the community of Twisp.
This fairly large lake is nicely planted with rainbow trout of all sizes, including a whopping 50,000 younger fish as well as more modest numbers of catchables and dose of very large trout.
Wannacut Lake is around 420 acres and has a fishing season from late April through October.
Anglers will use a WDFW access site with boat launch or a private resort with cabins and camping at the Oroville-area lake.
Expect the majority of rainbows to be in the 10- to 12-inch range, with carryovers to 14 inches or more.
Shoreline access is somewhat limited here, but boat fishing is good and the deeper areas tend to hold up well into the summer.
Wannacut Lake is about 20 minutes southwest of Oroville.
More: Wannacut Lake Fishing
Washburn Island Pond
This Brewster-area spot is a large pond of about 120 acres that can be very good for largemouth bass and bluegill fishing.
The best bass fishing is usually during spring and the first part of summer, before the aquatic weeds choke up this water pretty good. Additional bass have been stocked.
Bluegill are plentiful and will bite all summer where you can get to them.
Other fish species WDFW lists as potential catches include black crappie, brown bullhead, channel catfish, pumpkinseed sunfish and tench.
Bank fishing at Washburn Island Pond becomes limited by the weeds, and anglers also need a Colville tribal fishing permit to fishing from the shoreline.
Boat angling is the way to go for easier access and only requires your Washington state license. There is a county launch good for small boats.
Washburn Island Pond is a side channel of the Columbia River that was diked off. It is about 10 minutes east of Brewster, just off Highway 17.
This smallish lake has a modest fishery for both brook and tiger trout, which are stocked as younger fish and grow to keeper size at the Loomis-area water.
It’s open all year, but you’ll need to walk about a quarter mile down to the lake shore, where a float tube or raft will get you to more of the fish, including some chunky triploid brook trout.
WDFW reports that winterkills have occurred more frequently since vandals destroyed a windmill aerator in 2013.
The lake is located on BLM land, and there are some campsites at the trailhead.
In an area surrounded by trout, here’s a pretty darned good warmwater fishing spot near Tonkaset.
Largemouth bass are the primary target here, and bass to 7 pounds are caught. (Most trophy bass anglers release their catches.)
WDFW has occasionally planted channel catfish here, which are excellent eating if you catch them. Crappie and perch also are great table fish as well, if you find a schools.
Whitestone has a reputation for having lots and lots of little bluegill, which are fun for kids to catch but otherwise are probably of more interest to the hungry bass.
You might also catch pumpkinseed sunfish, bullhead catfish and common carp.
This long, thin and shallow lake is located right along the Loomis-Oroville Road on the way to Spectacle Lake, and less than 15 minutes northwest of Tonasket.
Fishing in Neighboring Counties
Ferry County: To the east, this somewhat remote area is worth exploring for trout and other gamefish in its lakes and streams.
Lincoln County: to the southeast, mostly rural farm country has access to big Sprague Lake and massive Lake Roosevelt and excellent smaller lakes.
Chelan and Douglas Counties: To the south, the fantastic Lake Chelan and lots of other places to catch trout, bass, inland salmon and more near Wenatchee.
Skagit County: To the west, the Skagit River and streams, lakes and saltwater with salmon, trout, shellfish and plenty more to catch.
Whatcom County: To the northwest, from saltwater salmon and shellfish to big and small lakes full of trout, bass and landlocked salmon near Bellingham.