This Eatonville-area lake in Pierce County offers good trout fishing during the spring beginning with its late-April opener.
Rapjohn is less than 60 acres in size, so the 5,000 or more trout planted here in April and May are concentrated and fairly easy to catch during those cooler months.
This is a shallow lake, topping out at around 20 feet deep, so it will warm up and trout fishing will slow down here a fair bit (or vanish altogether) by the dog days of summer, but Rapjohn Lake also offers fishing for a variety of bass and panfish to keep the action going.
Stocked rainbows are usually pretty easy pickings fishing with baits such as nightcrawlers, salmon eggs and of course the usual PowerBait.
Trolling with bait or lures (or a combination) is also very effective. You should be able to troll fairly close to the surface to begin the year when the water is still cool.
Slow-trolling a fly like a wooly bugger, perhaps with just a pinch of weight above it, always seems to work for rainbows.
The most popular non-trout species here include largemouth bass, black crappie and yellow perch.
There is awesome bass habitat with lots of lily pads ringing the small lake. Try pitching soft plastics like swimbaits, Senkos and grubs near the pads, or a bit off in slightly deeper water.
Crappie also will tend to school up near structure, where a crappie jig fished under a float or dangled into deeper water should do the trick.
Yellow perch also are schooling fish but not so structure-oriented. When you find them, a simple bait rig with a smaller hook and worm is money in the bank.
The primary access includes a WDFW unimproved boat launch on the west side of the lake, reached via an access road labeled on maps as State Game Access.
Unlike some of the lakes in this area, Rapjohn isn’t surrounded by residential development and therefore offers a slightly more secluded experience, although there likely will be a good number of anglers when the trout are biting.
The lake is about 40 minutes south of Tacoma via State Route 7, also known as National Park Highway.
You’ll turn east on 384th Street E. and south on 62nd. The access road also connects directly to the highway a little farther south.
The lake is about 15 minutes northwest of Eatonville.
Additional lakes in this area (most a little bigger than Rapjohn) with lots of stocked trout and resident bass and panfish include include Clear Lake, Lake Kapowsin, Ohop Lake, Silver Lake and Tanwax Lake.