One of multiple excellent lakes on Whidbey Island, Lone Lake offers year-round trout fishing in a beautiful setting.
Lone Lake is a favorite for fly fishing, in large part due to its healthy numbers of sizable trout, all eager to take a leech or chironomid pattern.
The lake is a local favorite but other anglers often overlook it for more popular lakes nearby – Pass Lake in particular. However, the trout in Lone Lake are just as big as the fish in more popular lakes, growing to over 20 inches in some cases.
You might take a ferry to get there, but Lone Lake offers some of the best trout fishing in the Puget Sound.
Though there are some conventional opportunities to catch trout, Lone Lake is most popular with fly fishermen, who have great success fishing leech and chironomid patterns.
The lake is fairly deep – try fishing chironomids on a sinking line or under a strike indicator, and fish your leeches on a sinking line as well. Olive and black are particularly good leech colors.
Scuds are prevalent as well, and can work well for anglers who aren’t having much success otherwise. The population of scuds in the lake has thrived due to the population of grass carp in the lake, which eliminate much of the aquatic vegetation.
Grass carp have long been a problem in Lone Lake, and their presence is linked to increased algae blooms and gradual devastation of the lake’s natural ecosystem.
There have been numerous efforts to curb the grass carp population, some of which have been successful. WDFW encourages you to keep these fish and even allows bow-and-arrow harvests for the carp, but don’t dare shoot a trout.
If you’re looking to do some conventional fishing, spinners and spoons can work well to catch some of the larger trout.
Just remember that selective gear rules are in effect on Lone Lake; only single-point, barbless hooks are allowed. Gas-powered motors are also prohibited on the lake.
Also note that the daily limit here is one trout at least 18 inches long, and most trout are released.
More information: Trout Fishing: How-To Techniques and Tips
When to Fish
Like most lakes, Lone Lake is most productive during the spring and the fall. This is because fish are most active during the transitional months of the year, and water temperatures are perfect.
Leeches and chironomids are the staple patterns year-round, and you won’t need to vary your tactics significantly based on the time of year you fish Lone Lake.
Keeping an eye on the water temperature and weather conditions can help, though.
If it’s your first time fishing the lake during a particular season, try fishing at different depths and mixing up your fly patterns until you figure out what works.
Fish can be caught during the summer and winter on Lone Lake, but the fishing isn’t always great.
Hot temperatures during the summer warm the water temperature and cause trout to eat less. Coupled with the algae blooms due to the grass carp, this produces less-than-ideal fishing conditions in the summer.
Fishing Lone Lake in the winter is another challenge – the weather is often poor, water temperatures are cold, and fish are sluggish.
Try slowing down your presentation and mixing up your usual techniques to catch fish during the cooler months.
Location and Access
Lone Lake is on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, and for most anglers, taking the ferry from Mukilteo is the easiest way to access the island. That trip might take you an hour and 20 minutes or so, but can vary significantly depending on traffic and ferry schedules.
If you’re driving to the lake from the north you can take Highway 20 south through the islands to reach Lone Lake without ever having to take a ferry. The drive is a little over an hour from Anacortes but almost two hours from Bellingham.
The lake is best fished with a non-motorized boat, float tube, or pontoon, and there is an established boat launch at the north end that most anglers use.
If you’re fishing from the bank, you’ll be hard-pressed to find much open space. The best option is at Lone Lake County Park, but extensive vegetation along the banks makes access very limited.
Private property backs up to much of the rest of the lake. For all intents and purposes, you’ll need a float tube or boat to effectively fish Lone Lake.
Lone Lake doesn’t see nearly as much fishing pressure as other popular lakes in the Puget Sound region, making it a great option for those who want to catch some big trout in solitude!
Grab your favorite balanced leech patterns and head out – the fish are waiting.
Carter Reschke is a freelance writer based in Oregon. Passionate about the outdoors, Carter is a fly fishing aficionado and spends his days on the river when he’s not writing.