At the southeastern outskirts of the urbanized Olympia area, Pattison Lake is an easily accessible, year-round fishing lake that’s stocked with well over 30,000 rainbow trout each year.
At more than 250 acres, Pattison Lake also supports healthy populations of warmwater fish, perhaps most notably black crappie. At least two types of bass may also be encountered.
The Washington State Department Fish and Wildlife’s stocking plan will typically call for most trout to be planted in April and May.
Pattison Lake is a popular fishing spot. While the state stocks it heavily in the spring, trout fishing prospects really thin out after May. The rest of the year offers only fair prospects at best as the water here warms during summertime.
Still-fishing with bait (under a bobber or just off the bottom) and trolling are common ways to catch trout. Fly-fishing is also a great way to angle for trout.
Bass and Panfish Fishing
Largemouth and rock bass maintain naturally reproducing populations in Pattison Lake.
Look for these popular sport fish when the weather begins to warm up in the spring, when the largest bass move into shallow water to spawn.
By mid- to late summer, expect to find bass (and sometimes see them) feeding in shallower waters early in the day, moving to deeper water by afternoon and possibly back into shallower water later in the evening.
There are lots of private docks, some shallow coves and overhanging trees and other bass-holding spots.
Black crappie are probably the most commonly caught species at Pattison Lake other than the rainbow trout stocked in abundance in the spring.
Prospects for crappie are uneven throughout the first half of the year. Spring can be a good month to fish for crappie as they prepare for spawning in shallow water.
Crappie fishing can be quite good at Pattison in the summer and fall months. In fact, October and November when some anglers are turning their attention back to trout (or heading elsewhere for salmon) are good months to go fishing for crappie.
Yellow perch are also found at Pattison Lake. These gold-colored fish typically move in good-sized schools that some anglers see with a fish-finder. As with bass, perch are easiest to catch in the summer season but bite all year.
Tips for Fishing
A railroad trestle divides Pattison Lake into two “halves,” although the northern part of the lake is smaller than the southern part.
Fishing is allowed on either side of the rail bridge, which is high enough that small boats and kayaks can pass beneath. However, this channel is both narrow and shallow, and it passes through a thicket of aquatic weeds, so take care and check your surroundings.
Shoreline fishing at Pattison Lake is quite limited.
You can fish from the bank right by the boat launch, which is on the southeast side of the lake. That’s it for bank angling, though.
If you’re taking a boat out onto Pattison Lake, as most anglers do to reach many more fish, be sure to observe the 5 mph speed limit.
Where is Pattison Lake?
Pattison Lake is just outside Lacey city limits, on the outskirts of the Olympia metropolitan area and mostly surrounded by private homes. Some longtime area residents call it Patterson Lake.
Major north-south roads in Lacey — College Street, Ruddell Road and Carpenter Road — meet Mullen Road Southeast, which runs east-west in between Pattison Lake and the other two lakes to the north.
To get to the Pattison Lake boat launch, follow Mullen Road east to Kagy Street Southeast, then take a right onto 58thAvenue just past the Pattison Water Co. building.
Then just follow 58th Avenue west for a few blocks to the boat launch and shore access area.