At roughly 135 acres, Flowing Lake is the largest of the so-called “Three Lakes” northeast of Snohomish.
Unlike its neighbors, Panther Lake to the west and Storm Lake to the east, Flowing Lake is open to fishing year-round and has some basic creature comforts for anglers and other lake users, including a park and campground maintained by Snohomish County.
The fishing at Flowing Lake is good all-around, with stocked rainbow trout and resident populations of other popular game fish like largemouth bass, yellow perch and brown bullheads.
There’s both a state-maintained access area on the southeast shore of Flowing Lake and a county-maintained access area from Flowing Lake Park on the lake’s north shore. Both access points have both a boat launch and a fishing pier.
Rainbow trout are stocked every spring, including both a modest number of catchable fish (about 7,400 at last check) and a larger number of fry and fingerlings (about 17,000).
Flowing Lake isn’t an enormous lake, but it’s larger than its immediate neighbors, and in the clear waters, trout can grow from adolescence to maturity eating a natural diet, some reaching impressive sizes.
When trout are able to live free for much of their natural life cycle, they often make for the best eating, with succulent pink flesh.
For this reason, March can be a good time to fish for trout at Flowing Lake as fish start to feed more actively in the spring.
Plus, any trout that are caught will have been living in the lake for close to a year or longer, making them stronger fighters and better for eating.
April, May, September and October also offer good fishing prospects for rainbow trout.
Summer and winter can be a little tougher for trout fishing, as trout typically feed less in very cold or warm condition.
Flowing Lake is a good boating lake, and many trout anglers on the lake prefer trolling for trout.
Fishing from the shore or a pier is also viable, especially in spring and fall when trout may be in shallower water.
In terms of bait, earthworms, salmon eggs or the ubiquitous PowerBait usually do the trick
Casting or trolling various spinner, spoons or wobbling lures can be effective.
Casting or slow trolling with an artificial fly can be quite successful as well, as rainbow trout feed heavily on insects, sometimes at or near the surface of the lake.
More information: Trout Fishing: How-To Techniques and Tips
Bass and Panfish Fishing
As trout fade, largemouth bass rise.
Bass fishing is at its best from May to September at Flowing Lake.
Bass jigs and other casting lures are recommended for anglers, especially since baited hooks often end up deep into a fish’s gut, which is not ideal (to say the least) for catch-and-release that most bass anglers practice on this fish, which many people consider more valuable for sport than eating.
The best time to fish for bass is either the morning or the evening. That’s because bass don’t enjoy bright light and hot daytime temperatures and will modulate their own feeding schedules to be less active during the day.
There’s good news and bad news for bass anglers wanting to take advantage of their quarry’s activity cycles.
Flowing Lake Park on the north side of the lake is only open from 7 a.m. until dusk for day users.
However, camping is allowed at the park with a reservation.
Also, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife maintains a separate boat launch and fishing pier on the lake’s south side, near Storm Lake.
Beyond bass, Flowing Lake also hosts yellow perch and brown bullheads.
Perch are schooling fish, so a patient angler can end up with quite a haul.
Prospects are best from May to September for these fish, which can run on the small side but are often ranked among the favorite freshwater species for eating, a smaller version of their walleye cousins.
Brown bullheads are a small species of catfish.
As with bass, fishing outside of peak daylight hours tends to yield the best results for bullheads. They can be caught 24 hours a day, but catfish definitely bite best in low light and especially at night.
Once again, May to September is the best period in the year to fish for bullheads.
Where is Flowing Lake?
Flowing Lake is located in between smaller Panther and Storm lakes, about 12 miles east of Everett.
From Everett, take U.S. Highway 2 to South Machias Road, then Machias Road to a right turn onto Dubuque Road. Turn right onto 171st Avenue Southeast, then left onto 48th Street Southeast, to reach Flowing Lake Park at Leckie’s Beach.
There is also a WDFW access area and boat launch off Wonderland Road, on the south side of the lake. Parking and amenities are more limited at this access point.
Flowing Lake Park has more than 40 campsites.
Campsites are open at Flowing Lake Park from March 1 through Oct. 31. Cabins must be reserved through Snohomish County Parks and Recreation.
Restroom and shower facilities are available year-round.