This Silver Lake in southern Pierce County, near Eatonville, is primarily known about trout anglers as a place to catch plenty of stocked rainbows.
But the moderate-sized lake, over 130 acres, also offers a variety of other fishing opportunities for year-round residents such as largemouth bass, black crappie and yellow perch.
The trout fishing is definitely best in the spring in the first weeks of the annual late April opener, because the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife plants it for the occasion with some 4,000 catchable trout.
But that’s not the only trout you’ll get at Silver Lake, which also is planted with many thousands of smaller “put and grow” rainbow trout during the fall, when the lake is closed.
The fish are fattened up in net pens and reach about half pound size by the beginning of the next fishing season. Our most recent check showed this planting at about 18,000 younger trout to begin in fall.
Rainbow trout are easy to catch when there are plenty around, especially when the water is cool.
Bait-fishing under a bobber or closer to the bottom is almost always a good bet when there are stocked trout around, especially for bank and dock anglers but also for boaters.
Boaters also can score limits by trolling bait, lures or combinations. Slow-trolling a sinking fly pattern also is a great method, especially if you are in a float tube, pontoon or other person-powered craft or catch a slight breeze to move you across the water.
Casting flies or lures is a more active and challenging way that some anglers prefer to catch trout, and these methods are excellent if you plan to release your catch because fish are usually hooked right on the lip.
Want to really learn this fishery? Read our Simple Guide to Trout Fishing Techniques and Tips.
Bass and Panfish
Trout fishing is likely to slow as the lake warms and many of the stocked trout have left on stringers, but warmwater fishing will keep the action going here until the fall season closure.
There are a number of Silver Lakes in Washington that are good fishing lakes.
This isn’t the Silver Lake that largemouth bass anglers necessarily think of first (that most likely would be Silver Lake in Cowlitz County), but there are some pretty good bucketmouths in this Silver Lake, which has weedy shoreline habitat mixed with private docks.
The largest of these fish are probably able to swallow up a stocked trout, but they also feed on other smaller fish, crayfish and other forage.
Try soft plastics, crankbaits, spinner baits, topwater lures and other lures that imitate prey species or simply result in an aggressive response from these big predators.
Learn more about bass fishing techniques in our simple how-to article.
Other fish at the lake include black crappie and yellow perch, both schooling fish known for making tasty fillets if you find them big enough.
Crappie are easiest to catch with small feather or soft plastic crappie jigs, which look like minnows in the water.
Perch will often take a crappie jig as well, especially if the hook is tipped with a little nibble of bait. Or fish with plain bait such as a red worm or piece of nightcrawler on a small hook, often near the bottom.
While perch fishing is simple, read up on the best approaches to boost your odds of catching a stringer of these tasty fish.
Fishing with bait along the bottom also may result in catching brown bullhead catfish common to most of the region’s lakes.
Put the bait under a bobber and fish just outside the weed lines and you’ll probably catch bluegill or other fish.
Access and Location
Silver Lake is very round. If you look at it as a clock, the top of the circle from roughly 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is bordered by private homes along Silver Lake Road E. Most of the lakeside homes have boat docks.
The other three quarters of the lake are less developed.
It’s also not a particularly deep lake, with depths just north of the middle only reaching a little more than 20 feet.
Henley’s Silver Lake Resort is the public’s access at the lake. It’s located at about 2 p.m. using the clock image, at the end of S. Silver Lake Road E.
The resort has cabins and RV and non-RV camping spots, boat rentals, a bait shop and a roomy fishing dock for overnight guests and with a fee for day visitors.
The lake is easily reached from State Route 7, also known as the National Park Highway.
Silver Lake is only about 10 minutes west of Eatonville and about 45 minutes (30 miles) driving south from the Tacoma area. It’s a similar drive heading east from Olympia.
That Eatonville area is thick with lakes planted with impressive numbers of trout and also having fair to quite good fishing for bass and panfish. Other prominent fishing holes nearby include Clear Lake, Lake Kapowsin, Ohop Lake, Rapjohn Lake and Tanwax Lake.