Fishing at Lake Goodwin and Lake Shoecraft

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Outside — but not too far outside! — the hustle and bustle of Seattle and its ring of suburbs, Lake Goodwin features two stocked trout species, two resident bass species and more.

Lake Goodwin is just a few miles off Interstate 5, northwest of nearby Marysville. At more than 500 acres, it’s on the larger side for fishing lakes in the Puget Sound region of western Washington.

Lake Shoecraft is the bigger lake’s little cousin.

Just southwest of Lake Goodwin, not much more than a cast across some residential lots and a street, it’s still a plenty respectable size at about 130 acres. It’s stocked as well with rainbow trout.

While they’re several miles from suburbia, the lakes aren’t wholly rustic.

Both are surrounded by residential neighborhoods and lined with lakeside homes with boat docks.

A Snohomish County park backs up to Lake Goodwin and provides public access from the east. There’s also an improved concrete boat launch, a fishing pier, and typical park amenities, including restrooms and a picnic area.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife maintains a gravel boat launch at Lake Shoecraft, on the lake’s southwestern shore. Restrooms are available on-site also.

Fishing is open year-round on both lakes, although winter fishing is typically slower as many of these fish species feed less actively in cold water.

Trout Fishing

Washington state game authorities put both rainbow and cutthroat trout in Lake Goodwin every spring and fall as fry and fingerlings, with about 36,000 of each species scheduled to be stocked in Lake Goodwin in the most recent plan.

Fry and fingerling stocked lakes are popular with many anglers because the juvenile fish grow to maturity while eating a natural diet, which makes them better fighters and tastier table fare than purely hatchery raised fish.

In other words, at Lake Goodwin, good things come to those who wait.

The state does put some larger trout in the lake every year, but it’s a relatively puny number, and only rainbow trout are stocked at “catchable size.”

For the nearly 550-acre lake, at last check the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife expected to stock 5,000 catchable rainbow trout.

As one might expect with trout being planted at varying sizes across many different times of year, fishing prospects for rainbow trout are at least fair all year.

Aside from the high summer months of July and August when trout typically become less active at lower-elevation lakes, the fishing for rainbow trout on Lake Goodwin can be good much of the time from March through October, a longer effective trout season than can be had on many other area lakes.

Lake Shoecraft, on the other hand, only receives rainbow trout that are ready to catch. A recent annual stocking plan called for 5,000 catchable trout to be planted in Lake Shoecraft in April.

March through June offer good fishing prospects for rainbow trout on Lake Shoecraft.

Fishing for most of the rest of the year is fair to poor, although there may still be some fall opportunities as summer dies down, and September is considered a good fishing month as the weather cools.

Rainbow and cutthroat trout are fished similarly.

Fishing with natural or artificial baits beneath a bobber or closer to the bottom is always a popular approach, while some anglers opt for fly and lure fishing.

For more information about catching trout, take a look at our simple guide, Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.

Bass and Panfish Fishing

Lake Goodwin and Lake Shoecraft are two of a handful of fishing lakes in western Washington where you can encounter both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass on the same expedition.

Largemouth bass, true to their name, have larger mouths.

Smallmouth bass are famously feisty, and they’ll often put up a more powerful fight pound for pound than their largemouth cousins or many other sport fish. They are easily riled and can be quite aggressive when it’s feeding time.

Both bass species tend to gulp down their food, especially when it comes to natural baits like nightcrawlers, and deep-throated hook sets can fatally injure fish. So if you’re out to catch and release, like many bass anglers, opt for lures instead of fishing with baits.

As for feeding time, both bass species are warmwater fish, and May through September offer the best bass prospects on Lake Goodwin and Lake Shoecraft.

But that’s not to say they always enjoy hot summer temperatures.

During the day, especially in the dog days of summer, bass are often lethargic when in shallow waters and may move into deeper or shaded water.

Morning and evening hours, when it’s not as bright and hot, are better times to fish for bass in shallower water and even on the surface, where they will smash topwater lures.

Bass cover at both lakes includes lots of boat docks and boat houses that provide shady hideouts, as well as some points, drop-offs and a bit of aquatic plant life.

After trout and bass, yellow perch are probably the most notable fishery on both Lake Goodwin and Lake Shoecraft.

Find these brightly striped fish feeding in schools, particularly from May to September.

Yellow perch are smaller than most mature bass or trout, but what you lose in size, you can easily make up in quantity.

Once you get one perch on the hook (smaller hooks are preferred, and pieces of earthworm make fine bait), you’ll likely get more, so wait and be ready until the school, or what’s left of it, moves on and the bites end.

Black crappie, another schooling fish, may be encountered also.

Crappie spawn during the spring, when they move into shallower water, especially around cover such as dock pilings, submerged branches and similar structure.

At other times of the year, schools of crappie are likely to move into somewhat deeper water but will still stage around structure if it can be located.

Where are Lake Goodwin and Lake Shoecraft?

Lakes Goodwin and Shoecraft are northwest of the Seattle area. The nearest town of note is Marysville, just 20 minutes away to the southeast.

From Everett, the lakes are only about 25 minutes, while it’s about an hour’s drive north on Interstate 5 from the Seattle area.

In Marysville, take exit 202 but continue to head up along the freeway route about a mile farther on 34th Avenue Northeast, which parallels I-5 to the west before diverging as 140th Street Northeast.

To Lake Goodwin, take 140th Street several miles west and then turn right onto 46th Avenue Northwest. You’ll take an almost immediate right again onto East Lake Goodwin Road, which, as one might surmise from the name, is the access road for the lake via Wenberg County Park.

Another place with bank and boat access is on the north side of the lake at Lake Goodwin Community Park, next to Lake Goodwin Resort along Lakewood Road.

Lake Shoecraft is immediately southwest of Lake Goodwin on the other side of Lake Goodwin Road.

For the Lake Shoecraft boat launch, stay on 140th Street about half a mile farther before taking a right onto 56th Avenue Northwest. Your destination will be on the right.

This pair of lakes are in what’s known as the Seven Lakes area north of the Tulalip reservation. Among the other lakes is Lake Ki, also an excellent fishing spot.

Find more fishing spots in Snohomish County

Washington Resources

WDFW fishing and stocking reports
WDFW fishing regulations
National Weather Service forecasts