Hicks Lake in Lacey is a good-sized fishing hole that won’t take you far from town.
The lake is open seasonally for fishing, beginning on the fourth Saturday of April and continues through the end of October.
While the best trout fishing you’ll find on Hicks Lake comes early in the season, the lake supports warmwater fish populations to keep fishing prospects going through season’s end.
Bluegill, black crappie, yellow perch, largemouth bass, brown bullheads, rock bass and other panfish are known to inhabit Hicks Lake, and at warmer times of the year it would be fairly common to catch a couple species while fishing here.
At about 160 acres, Hicks Lake can support a fair number of fish.
As many as 18,000 rainbow trout may be stocked in the spring months, including 2,500 “jumbo” trout typically planted at the beginning of the season.
Fishing prospects for rainbow trout are excellent at the start of the season and stay strong through June.
Stocked trout are usually quite easily caught by still-fishing with bait and trolling lures or bait (or a combination), and casting lures and flies also will catch fish.
To brush up on your options, read our Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.
The hot summer months are far slower for trout, but if any survive into fall, the cooler weather could spur another bite before the closure.
Brown trout have also been periodically stocked at Hicks Lake, although recent stocking reports don’t show plantings here.
Bass and Panfish Fishing
Hicks Lake supports largemouth bass as well as a less-common fish called a rock bass, which is actually a member of the sunfish family but behave somewhat like junior-sized bass.
The more popular game fish, largemouth bass prefer shady spots and cover, such as the many weeds and docks at Hicks.
Especially in the late summer months, when the water is warm, they’ll retreat to deeper and cooler water during the full sun of midday. Be patient and try different techniques and types of holding water if you’re not having much success.
Bass anglers typically use a variety of lures including soft plastics, hard crankbaits, spinnerbaits and even topwater lures. Largemouth lures can be quite large, as these fish are known to swallow pan-sized trout, baby ducks and other big meals, in addition to crayfish, smaller fish and frogs.
Bait such as a whole nightcrawler will also catch bass but can lead to more fatal hookups, and most bass anglers like to release their catch unharmed.
Fishing prospects for black crappie are good starting in spring and continuing through the season, and these fish are excellent table fare. In the spring, crappie are often found in shallower water to spawn, when they are often fished with a crappie jig under a bobber.
Crappie also provide some of the more consistent fishing action at Hicks Lake in the last months of the season when trout and other species have faded in the heat, but you’ll have to find the schools to succeed.
Crappie are often located around submerged branches, docks and similar structures, but they may move into relatively deep water during the heat of day.
Bluegill also provide good fishing in the mid- to late summer and can often be caught around docks, weeds and other near-shore structures.
When fishing for bluegill, remember that they’re sort of the opposite of largemouth bass. They have very small mouths, so use a small hook and small baits, such as a redworm, mealworm or short section of a nightcrawler, often fished beneath a bobber.
Bluegill are experts at pilfering bait. Make sure you’ve secured the bait well to the hook to improve your chances of catching these smaller but surprisingly strong battlers.
Yellow perch and brown bullheads also bite eagerly on baits such as worms, with these two species typically found close to the bottom of the lake.
Where is Hicks Lake?
Hicks Lake is in Lacey and just 15 minutes east of Olympia.
Lake access is from Wanschers Park, which has a boat launch and shore access. Take 25th Avenue Southeast east from Ruddell Road Southeast to reach the park.
The larger Long Lake, which also has lots of stocked trout and warmwater fishing, is just on the other side of Carpenter Road Southeast, to the east of Hicks Lake.
And Pattison Lake, another spot with similar fishing for trout and warmwater fish, is just to the south.