If you are looking for a quality fishing experience with big trout and other game fish, and no pressure to bring home fish for dinner, this might be the spot for you.
Munn Lake is fairly unique among Thurston County fishing lakes in that it’s entirely catch-and-release with several other rules that make it a nice little sport angling paradise.
If you want to find reliable fly fishing (or lure fishing) near Olympia, Tumwater or Lacey, it’s only about 10 minutes away at Munn Lake
Munn Lake isn’t heavily stocked, but it doesn’t need to be to maintain good fishing.
For one thing, it’s only about 30 acres in size. And, remember that anglers are required to release all fish to grow and fight another day.
Besides strict catch-and-release rules for ALL fish species, selective gear rules apply at Munn, meaning anglers must fish with artificial flies and lures, and no bait may be used.
WDFW doesn’t allow any bait fishing because it helps improve fish survival. Fish tend to swallow baits more deeply, causing more fatal hookups.
All flies and lures also must have single, barbless hooks.
Remember that WDFW’s definition of bait includes scents and flavorings, so don’t use scented lures that are popular in some spots.
You also can’t fish with two poles here.
Definitely read the WDFW regulations carefully for other rules or updates, as this is a highly regulated lake.
Finally, leave your big boats at home because you can’t use any gas motors at Munn. Electric and human-powered craft are a good idea here, though, if you want to reach many more fish.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks the lake with both rainbows and cutthroat trout.
Often the rainbows are the agency’s extra large “jumbo” trout and even a few brood stock trout, all hefty fish that can put up a good fight. These can be stocked both in spring and fall, and rainbow to 20 inches or longer are not uncommon here.
And then WDFW also plants a modest number of catchable-sized cutthroat trout, which can grow larger on natural food found there. The recent stocking plan called for several hundred of these stocked in November.
There have been brown trout stocked in Munn in the past, although recent WDFW stocking schedules don’t indicate recent plants. There might be a few around, and these fish can get quite large.
Both rainbows and cutthroats are excellent game fish for fly fishing, and fly anglers tend to like Munn, which despite its suburban location has plenty of undeveloped shoreline and aquatic weeds that support bug life.
You don’t have to be a fly casting master, either. Slowly trolling a sinking fly or using one beneath a float will catch fish with conventional rods and reels.
Trolling wobbling plugs can be good here for trout, and occasionally bass will hit various trout lures as well.
Bass and Panfish Fishing
Munn Lake also is home to naturally reproducing populations of largemouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill and crappie.
And yes, you even have to release the panfish you catch at Munn. The catch-and-release rule applies across the board here, so plan to go somewhere else to get ready for that perch and crappie fry.
Bass will strike a variety of lures that imitate their prey, which includes smaller fish, crayfish and frogs.
Fly anglers sometimes use larger flies such as streamers, buggers or others designed to imitate minnows, worms or leeches to catch bass.
Jigs, flies and smaller lures also can catch panfish, as long as they meet selective gear requirements.
Location and Access
Munn Lake is open year-round for fishing.
The lake’s primary access road is along 65th Avenue SE, just east of Henderson Boulevard SE. It’s just northeast of the Olympia Regional Airport.
The only bank access is at the north end of the lake near the boat launch.
A small watercraft or float tube (remember, no gas motors) will serve you really well here to reach more fish or even employ some slow-trolling techniques with lures or flies.
Nearby Susan Lake, connected by a narrow channel, is much tinier, has some warmwater fishing and possibly a few trout swimming in, and also has the same selective gear and catch-and-release rules as Munn Lake.
Trails End Lake also is very close (just south) and at least reportedly has at some point been stocked with channel catfish. This one doesn’t have the same stringent regulations.