Pine Lake in Sammamish provides some quality fisheries in Seattle’s eastern suburbs.
This lake is an excellent place to fish for rainbow trout at the start of the season, which opens the fourth Saturday of April and continues through October.
Largemouth bass and yellow perch have resident populations here and are best fished in the summer months.
The 85-acre lake is accessible from a city park by the same name, which offers your typical city park amenities: picnic areas, playgrounds, athletic fields, restroom facilities and parking.
Be advised that due to Pine Lake’s modest size and suburban setting, outboard motors are not permitted on the lake, and the boat ramp has size restrictions. Car-toppers and float tubes are allowed.
Most of the rest of the lakeshore is made up of private homes and docks.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife isn’t stingy when it comes to stocking Pine Lake.
At our most recent check, the state’s stocking plan called for 11,500 catchable rainbow trout to be planted in April for the start of the season.
Since a large number of trout are planted in this moderately sized lake, there’s generally some “carryover” from one year to another.
These trout that have been living in the wild for a year or longer are not only larger but also pink-fleshed and make for excellent eating, having had a good long time to eat a natural diet and swim free in the lake.
The best time to fish for trout is when the season opens and through the following month or so.
Unlike many other lakes in the area, Pine Lake has a defined fishing season, which opens the fourth Saturday of April and continues through Halloween.
Look for rainbow trout through July, although fishing is best in the four or five weeks following the opener.
Fall offers fair prospects at best, but trout that have been living in the lake that long will have begun to take on those desirable qualities of natural-eating fish.
A popular way to fish for trout is with bait suspended beneath a float, like those typical red and white bobbers, to get their attention.
If trout are deeper, try fishing with deeper with weight, often with a floating bait that puts your offering two or three feet off the bottom and into the path of cruising trout.
Feeding time for trout may mean they are hunting insects near the surface of the water, and so fly angling is also a very popular technique. Various lures are also often effective.
In the past, brown trout have been stocked in Pine Lake, but it’s not clear that any remain (although they might be quite large if they’re around).
There also have been some cutthroat trout caught here at times, but rainbows are the target trout here.
For more suggestions on catching these fish, try our simple guide article, Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.
Bass and Panfish Fishing
Although not as notable at Pine Lake as rainbow trout, largemouth bass and yellow perch are other popular game fish that call the lake home.
Yellow perch are good to catch pretty much all season long at Pine Lake, although they tend to drop off somewhat by October as their feeding patterns change with the season.
Perch are schooling fish. If you get a bite in one spot, expect to get more. You can catch lots of fish from a particularly large school before the rest finally move on.
Use small hooks for perch, since they have small mouths. Pieces of earthworm are a favorite for catching perch.
Learn more yellow perch fishing tips here.
The bass season is similar to the perch season, although it may start slightly later because they are active in warmer water.
Spring is a good time to find larger bass in shallow water, where they spawn and can be very aggressive.
There are a few shallow cove areas that will attract spawning and feeding bass, while the private docks also are likely to be places where bass hide in the shade and wait to ambush passing prey.
In high summer, a popular season to fish for largemouth bass, anglers will often have the best luck fishing in the morning or evening, although it’s quite possible to reel in bass during midday if you can find the shady spots or deeper areas where they like to hang out when it’s bright out.
Largemouth bass have bigger mouths than perch.
If you’re catching for keeps, some anglers will employ a larger hook baited with a nightcrawler or crayfish tail.
But if you’re planning to catch and release, as many bass anglers prefer, instead of bait use a lure such as a jig, crankbait or spinnerbait because bass are less likely to swallow artificial lures deeply and therefore aren’t as often fatally injured.
Some anglers have reported catching smallmouth bass at Pine Lake as well, but by most accounts the largemouths dominate the bass fishery.
Pumpkinseed sunfish also have a resident population at Pine Lake.
Although fishing for these small but feisty fish is a smaller attraction, sunfish can provide a fun fishery, especially for younger anglers without the patience to wait for a larger fish to bite.
Sunfish are often found in shallower water and around cover including docks and shoreline weeds.
Catch more sunfish with these fishing tips.
Where is Pine Lake?
Pine Lake is in Sammamish, and it’s accessible from Pine Lake Park, which is managed by the City of Sammamish.
The park is on the southwest corner of 228th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 24th Street, just up the road from Pine Lake Middle School and the Pine Lake Village shopping center.
From Interstate 90, take exit 17 and head north on Issaquah-Fall City Road, then left onto Issaquah-Pine Lake Road. As you might gather from the name, this road leads nearly all the way to the lake; just take a right onto 228th Avenue past the middle school and shopping center.
It’s about a 25-minute drive from Bellevue, or a 30-minute drive from Seattle, depending on traffic.
Pine Lake Park opens at 6:30 a.m. from April through September, shifting to an hour later in October and the offseason. It closes around dusk.
Be aware that there are often swimmers at Pine Lake Park during the summer. There is a designated swimming area. Keep clear and be on the lookout for swimmers.
The park has some other basic amenities, like picnic shelters, basketball courts, playgrounds, athletic fields and trails. Parking and restrooms are available on-site.
There is a fishing pier and some shoreline access around the boat launch.