The largest county in south-central Washington offers plentiful fishing opportunities in its many lakes and rivers.
Named for the original residents of the Yakama Nation, Yakima County is home to the lower Yakima River, a major tributary of the Columbia River and upstream mostly in Kittitas County, one of Washington’s best wild trout rivers.
Mount Adams, the state’s second-tallest mountain at over 12,200 feet, sits 50 miles southwest of the county’s biggest city, Yakima.
National protected areas include Goat Rocks Wilderness, Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge and Mount Adams Recreation Area.
The Yakama Nation, whose reservation occupies a major part of the county, manages some wild areas and fisheries programs.
The Yakima Valley is a rich farming area especially known for wine production, second in volume only to California.
Other cities in the county include Grandview, Naches, Selah and Wapato.
Continue reading the rest of this article to learn about some of the better fishing spots in Yakima County, with links to more information.
Before you get there, we also want you to know that at the end of this article you will find our “Fishing in Neighboring Counties” feature.
This feature is a simple guide that links you to the best fishing opportunities in the counties that border Yakima County on both sides of the Cascade Mountains, many with hot spots that are a fairly modest and very worthwhile drive away.
Clear and inviting running just out the window along Highway 410, fishing in this high-mountain here tends to be fair at best during the summer.
The American River, part of the Naches River system, is not stocked with trout and has tight gear restrictions if you fish for its various trout species, including cutthroat and brook trout you can keep and bull trout you must release.
There also are whitefish available.
Spring Chinook salmon spawn in the lower reaches but are off-limits to angling.
See the Naches River entry below for more.
Fishing is open year-round at this small lake in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, but catches will be best soon after about 800 catchable rainbow trout are stocked in about May and June.
The approximately 4-acre lake also has yellow perch, crappie and largemouth bass, which will bite best in warmer weather.
At more than 4,000 feet in elevation, the lake is likely to get off to a slow start before fish are planted.
Bear Lake is located in a remote area about an hour west of Naches.
This big reservoir east of Mount Rainier is best known for fishing for trout and kokanee.
Bumping Lake is stocked with about 30,000 young rainbow trout each year, and also has been stocked with cutthroat trout in the past.
This year-round lake generally starts fishing the best in the spring, with kokanee biting best starting around the middle of May.
There also are some brook trout and mountain whitefish in the 1,300-acre reservoir.
Bull trout also are present, but these protected native char must be released if caught.
Bumping Lake has excellent camping and a good Forest Service boat ramp as well as good shoreline access. There also is a private resort.
Bumping Lake is southeast of Chinook Pass off State Route 410. It is about an hour and 45 minutes northwest of Yakima and nearly three hours from Tacoma.
This Naches River tributary is very accessible below Bumping Lake and has fair opportunities to catch wild trout, including rainbows, cutthroat and brook trout.
The upper river may interest hiking anglers chasing wild trout.
There also are whitefish that can be kept, but bull trout need to be released unharmed.
See the Naches River entry for details.
This mid-sized reservoir east of White Pass is stocked with many thousands of catchable hatchery rainbow trout from about April through June, and fishing should be excellent into the summer and worthwhile at other times.
Clear Lake also is stocked with jumbo rainbows and has a variety of other trout, including brook, cutthroat and bull trout. The bull trout must be carefully released if caught.
Clear Lake is open to fishing all year, but about 3,000 feet in elevation, winter weather can be harsh.
There is good shoreline access and two campgrounds, a day-use area, and a boat launch at the lake. There also is a snow park.
The west arm area can be especially good for fishing.
Clear Lake is located just west of the much larger Rimrock Reservoir, just off U.S. Highway 12. It’s about an hour west of Yakima and a little under two hours east from the Napavine area on Interstate 5.
Just the northeast corner of Yakima borders the Columbia River, which in Central Washington has ample opportunities for warm water species such as smallmouth bass and walleye as well as native species including salmon, steelhead and sturgeon.
The Yakima County side is remote and most anglers would access this part of the river, including the Priest Rapids Dam area, from in the Mattawa area across the river in Grant County.
More: Columbia River Fishing
This excellent 60-acre lake is located along U.S. Highway 12 east of White Pass, at the base of Spiral Butte.
It is stocked with about 7,000 catchable rainbow trout around May and June, when fishing will be at its peak. Some of the rainbows will be “jumbo” trout.
There also are brook trout in the lake.
The lake is open for fishing all year, but at more than 4,000 feet in elevation expect plenty of snow and ice. In fact, ice fishing is becoming increasingly popular at this easily accessible lake in recent years.
There is a small U.S. Forest Service campground as well as a rough boat launch Shoreline access is good.
Cramer Lake trailhead is very close and Clear Creek Falls Overlook is less than a mile east of Dog Lake Campground.
Leech Lake is nearby.
Elton Pond, North
This 15-acre fishing spot is located near Selah, alongside Interstate 82, and can be a good wintertime bet for large trout.
Elton Pond is open to fishing only during the cold months from the day after Thanksgiving in November to March 31.
Fishing will be good, especially soon after the opener on Black Friday, because around 2,000 jumbo rainbow trout are usually stocked.
Shoreline access is good and ice fishing may be possible at times, if conditions are safe.
Internal combustion motors are prohibited at Elton Pond.
Firing Center Pond
This small pond stocks about 300 catchable rainbow trout late April or early May.
This half-acre pond located on the Yakima Training Center northeast of Yakima is stocked with a few hundred rainbow trout during the spring.
The half-acre pond is open to young anglers and is primarily fished during the stocking season.
Near the city of Granger, this 10-acre pond offers excellent trout fishing and additional warm water fishing.
About 1,400 catchable rainbows stocked March and April, when trout fishing is best, and you might also catch largemouth bass, sunfish or carp.
Granger Pond is open year-round and offers good shoreline access with nearby convenient parking as well.
Indian Flat Pond
This small pond is located adjacent to State Route 410 (north side) near the U.S. Forest Service Indian Flat Campground in the Wenatchee National Forest.
The pond is typically stocked with about 800 catchable size rainbow trout in June, when fishing will be best. Shore access is good.
These seven gravel pit ponds stretching from about Union Gap to Zillah along Interstate 82 offer excellent seasonal trout fishing along with fair to good angling for several types of warmwater fishing.
The ponds are legal to fish year-round, but parking and access is subject to seasonal closures.
Five of the ponds (1, 2, 3, 4 and 6) are typically stocked with rainbow trout, usually in March.
Several of the lakes also have been stocked with channel catfish at times, and anglers also can catch largemouth bass (some to large size) as well as sunfish, crappie and yellow perch.
Internal combustion motors are not allowed on these waters, but bank access is generally good at the ponds and a float tube, kayak or similar watercraft can be effective.
This 40-plus-acre lake offers large trout for fly angling only near White Pass.
The high-mountain lake is modestly stocked with about 500 jumbo-sized hatchery rainbow trout in May or June, and anglers can only keep one of those rainbows that must be at least 18 inches.
Resident brook trout may also be available, with typical state harvest limits on the brookies.
Leech Lake is on South Fork Clear Creek and is east of the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area.
This sometimes excellent six-acre trout lake is in the Wenatchee National Forest east of Rimrock Lake.
The lake is well-stocked with some 3,500 catchable size rainbow trout from about late to late May. Jumbo trout are also stocked here in May, and springtime offers the best odds for trout fishing, although fishing is allowed all year.
Lost Lake is located nearly an hour from Yakima off U.S. 12.
You’ll find good bank access to the lake and also can launch a car-top boat. There is a campground.
The upper river flows through Yakima County and is mostly fished for wild trout.
See Fishing in Klickitat County for the popular anadromous fisheries.
This small lake in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest mountains can be good for trout fishing, especially when WDFW stocks it in the spring.
At times the shallow lake has not been stocked due to low water conditions, and low water also can be a problem later in the season. It would be a good idea to check water conditions before heading there.
At last check it was scheduled for 1,500 trout in May, a good amount for its 4-acre size.
McDaniel Lake is located in the Rattlesnake Creek drainage near Meeks Table at over 3,000 feet in elevation.
This once-popular little trout lake near Highway 410 (a few miles up from U.S. 12) is not being stocked with keeper trout these days, after the private property owner cut off the main access.
WDFW did stock it with some fingerlings after that, but it doesn’t always appear on stocking reports and prospects for those who hike around the private property may not be great.
If you do decide to hike in to explore this fishery, know that selective gear rules apply and you may only keep one trout over 18 inches.
This 13-acre lake in Yakima is managed as a year-round quality fishery for trout, with selective gear rules and a modest harvest limit in place.
Myron Lake is stocked with both catchable and jumbo rainbow trout, usually in March.
Also, broodstock rainbows in the 3- to 12-pound range are regularly stocked in the late fall or early spring.
Myron also has bass, sunfish and carp.
Internal combustion motors are prohibited but there is good shoreline access and a parking area nearby.
Naches Park (Sportsmans’ Day)
Only a little over one acre, Naches Park’s fishing enclosure is technically open for fishing year-round but primarily fished for the Sportsmans’ Days kids fishing event in September (around Labor Day weekend).
Though not as productive as the upper Yakima River system, this major tributary can offer pretty good trout fishing for wild rainbows and cutthroats.
Fly fishing is popular in the Naches, and campers often give the stream a try with fair to good results.
Note that the Naches and its tributaries are primarily regulated with selective gear restrictions, meaning no bait fishing and barbless hooks. Read those rules carefully before fishing.
Besides trout, there are good numbers of whitefish and a wintertime whitefish season (with special whitefish regulations) in the river below the confluence with the Tieton River.
Fishing is not allowed at any time for protected bull trout, spring Chinook salmon and steelhead is off-limits. If you catch a bull trout or the others incidentally, release it unharmed as quickly as possible.
Major tributaries of this river offer trout and whitefish angling, include the American, Bumping, Tieton and Little Naches rivers, and some of their smaller tributaries. Make sure the tributary you decide to fish is open before that first cast.
Naches River, Little
This tributary of the mainstem Naches River is fished plenty due to an abundance of campgrounds on its banks, but it is not stocked and the populations of wild trout are relatively small.
Expect some rainbows and cutthroats.
Getting away from the busier sections and up into the forks likely will produce more (although smallish) trout.
See the link above in the Naches River entry for more information about fishing the system.
Quartz Creek Pond
This small pond just off the Little Naches River is stocked with hundreds of hatchery rainbow trout in the late spring, just as camping season gets busy in the Wenatchee National Forest.
Fishing will be best in about June and will slow into the summer.
The pond is next to the Longmire Meadow Campground and close to several other camping sites. It’s a little over 3 miles up Forest Road 70 from State Route 410.
This large reservoir on the upper Tieton River, readily visible along Interstate 82, is probably your best bet in the county for catching kokanee salmon.
The kokanee (land-locked sockeye salmon) fishing gets rolling in May and continues until August, when they begin to turn their attention toward spawning.
While Rimrock Lake isn’t always stocked, there are a variety of trout species, including rainbows, cutthroat, brook and bull trout.
The bull trout are protected and fishing for them is prohibited, so release those unharmed if you catch them incidentally while fishing for other trout or salmon.
Whitefish also are present in the reservoir.
There are public and private campgrounds and boat launches on the reservoir, which is the largest impoundment in the county. Expect modest launching fees.
It is located about 10 miles east of White Pass, less than an hour from Yakima but about two and a half hours from Tacoma.
Rotary Lake is a nicely stocked trout lake of about 23 acres located near the Greenway Trail in Yakima.
Rotary Lake has a year-round open season and is stocked with more than 7,000 catchable rainbow trout and another 300 jumbo rainbows in about April.
The lake is also stocked with 3- to 12-pound brood stock trout in the fall.
Largemouth bass up to 7 pounds and channel catfish up to 20 pounds have been caught here.
Sunfish and yellow perch are commonly caught in the pond as well.
Very good shoreline access is available as you hike in on Greenway Trail.
Also known as Rotary Pond, this fishing spot is approximately a one-third mile hike from the parking lot near Harlan Landing (Selah Gap) or the parking lot behind the old Boise-Cascade Mill (next to Interstate 82).
Sarg Hubbard Park Pond
The reflection pond in Sarg Hubbard Park in Yakima is a popular kids fishing spot, as it’s regularly stocked with good numbers of hatchery rainbow trout.
The lake is only open to juvenile and senior anglers, as well as anglers with a disability who also have a state-issued designated harvester companion card.
Most of the 6,000 or so trout will be stocked in batches stretching from March through June, likely including a modest number of large “jumbo” trout.
At times, WDFW also plants the pond with 3- to 12-pound brood trout in the late fall and in the spring.
Other game fish in the pond include largemouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, channel catfish and carp.
The pond, also known as Sarge Hubbard Pond or simply the Reflection Pond, has very good shoreline access with fishing docks and a paved parking lot and walking path.
Tieton Ranger Pond
This small pond near the Tieton River in the mountains of the Wenatchee National Forest is stocked with hatchery rainbow trout in about April, and fishing will be best after the trout arrive in spring and possibly into early summer.
Shore access is good at the 2-acre pond, and River Bend Campground on the Tieton River is nearby.
The pond is located on Bethel Ridge Road near U.S. 12.
This is a small but heavily stocked trout pond in the Naches area along Highway 12.
Tim’s Pond is only a few acres in size but it’s stocked with a total of almost 5,000 catchable rainbow trout over multiple plantings, starting in May and continuing through September.
On top of the legal-sized trout, about 400 jumbos are also stocked here, often in May and June.
There is good shoreline and parking access on WDFW land.
Tim’s Pond is located right along U.S. 12, between the highway and the Tieton River, just about a mile south of the State Route 410 interchange.
It’s next to the Oak Creek Wildlife Area and only about 25 minutes northwest of Yakima.
This major tributary of the Naches River hasn’t been stocked in recent years, but anglers may find smallish wild rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout in the Tieton and its tributaries, such as the North Fork above Clear Lake.
The Tieton can also be good for whitefish, which some anglers ignore but which can provide good action.
Like other Naches River tributaries, the Tieton is home to protected bull trout, some to state-record size, but you may not target bull trout and must release them if caught while fishing for legal species.
See the Naches River entry above for more details.
This approximately 60-acre reservoir north of Naches offers year-round fishing and is most popular for trout.
WDFW plants the lake with about 5,000 fingerling rainbow trout in the spring, and those trout grow to keeper sizes at Wenas Lake.
Spring and fall are often peak times for trout fishing in the area.
The reservoir on Wenas Creek also has bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, yellow perch, channel catfish and carp, most of which bite well from late spring into early fall.
Other types of trout (such as browns) have been stocked in this lake but may no longer be available.
Wenas Lake has good bank fishing access, but you must walk about a half mile from the parking area to get to it.
Wenas Lake is on N. Wenas Road, about a half hour’s drive northwest of Yakima.
Unfortunately, the county’s major river system isn’t great for fishing within the county itself.
It’s most famous trout fishing is above (and a little below) Roza Dam upriver in Kittitas County.
In Yakima County, the river runs through agricultural lands and tends to run too warm and with too many nutrients and agricultural pollutants to support trout year-round.
There is a good warmwater fishery, most notably for smallmouth bass and channel catfish, although much of that type of fishing is downriver in Benton County, closer to the Columbia River.
Some years the salmon returns allow a fishery to open up, which can be good some years. The hatchery-supported runs include spring and fall Chinook and fall coho. Temporary seasons are announced during the year based on actual fish runs.
More: Yakima River Fishing
Zillah Winery Pond
This tiny pond in the city of Zillah has been stocked in the past with hatchery rainbow trout, although it wasn’t on WDFW’s schedule at last check.
If it does get stocked again, expect the fish to be delivered in mid-spring, when fishing will be the best.
There are a modest number of other fish in the pond, such as pumpkinseed sunfish and carp, but there are better places for warmwater fishing.
The pond (less than an acre) can suffer from low water levels, especially in the fall and winter.
Fishing in Neighboring Counties
Kittitas County: To the north, famous fly fishing water on the Yakima River and lots of lakes stuffed with trout and other game fish near Ellensburg.
Grant and Adams Counties: To the northeast, an incredible concentration of waters rich with trout, bass, walleye and more around Moses Lake.
Benton and Franklin Counties: To the east, the Trip-Cities area offers some outstanding fishing in the mid-Columbia and lower Snake rivers and some nicely stocked lakes.
Klickitat County: To the south, lots of Columbia River fishing for salmon, steelhead, walleye and more, as well as bass and trout spots.
Skamania County: To the southwest, salmon, steelhead and more in the Columbia River and tributaries, plus some very good trout and bass lakes.
Lewis County: To the west, the best salmon and steelhead fishing on the Cowlitz River plus excellent trout, bass and other fishing.
Pierce County: To the northwest, from salmon and trout near Tacoma to hike-in lakes in the high mountains, surprising number of fishing spots for such a populous county.