It’s easy to see why Spencer Lake is one of the most popular freshwater fishing spots on the Olympic Peninsula.
The lake is stocked multiple times per year with rainbow trout and even a few cutthroat trout, including “jumbo”-sized fish.
It’s also a great bass and perch fishery, with some of western Washington’s finest fishing for largemouth bass during the summer months.
To top it all off, Spencer Lake is accessible. It’s located just off state Highway 3, on the way to Harstine Island.
Spencer Lake is in Mason County, only about 15 minutes or so driving from the county seat of Shelton.
From Olympia at Interstate 5, it’s about a 40-minute drive, almost all of it highway.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is generous in stocking Spencer Lake, which reflects the lake’s popularity as a trout lake.
The state’s recent stocking plans have called for about 13,000 rainbow trout to be put into the lake from March to May, plus 4,400 more jumbo rainbows in October.
Additionally, WDFW also at times has planted the lake with more than 500 cutthroat trout to spice up the fishery. This might happen in the late winter but check the current stocking schedule to be sure.
The rainbow trout season at Spencer Lake is pretty typical.
The best fishing opportunities come from late March through May, although when the water cools again around mid- to late September through early November is also a good time to fish for trout here.
Cutthroat trout are at their most catchable in late February and March, particularly if new ones are planted.
Fly fishing is a great way to catch trout, which tend to prey on insects at or near the top of the lake.
Traditional angling techniques also work well, especially on hatchery-raised fish, which will readily bite on baited hooks and lures.
Many anglers dangle bait beneath a red-and-white bobber to get the attention of both the fish and the fishermen.
Bass and Panfish Fishing
There’s a lull in trout fishing in the summer months, but hardly in activity at Spencer Lake.
Just as the spring trout season is winding down, bass start biting in force.
WDFW reports both largemouth and smallmouth bass in Spencer Lake, but most reports mention the largemouths.
June through early September is the ideal time of year to grab your pole and head to Spencer Lake for bass fishing.
If you’re doing catch-and-release, as many bass anglers do, use an artificial lure because bass are less likely to swallow it deeply than a nightcrawler or other bait.
Largemouth bass aren’t picky predators. They will eat almost anything that moves — frogs, smaller fish, crayfish, and bugs — that fit into their mouths. For largemouth bass, that’s a lot of things.
Yellow perch fishing is different that bass fishing, although their best seasons largely coincide.
Unlike bass, perch are schooling fish, which can make them easier to catch once you find them and can significantly increase your yield. Once they start biting, odds are good they’ll keep biting.
Perch also have much smaller mouths, so use smaller hooks. Bottom fishing with worm pieces is an easy way to catch a bunch of perch.
The best time to fish for yellow perch at Spencer Lake is May and June, although fishing is usually viable well into October as well.
You also are likely to catch some bluegill or other sunfish.
Where is Spencer Lake?
Spencer Lake is on the southwest side of Puget Sound, in rural Mason County.
Find 212-acre Spencer Lake just south of East Pickering Road, which runs from State Route 3 to the Harstine Island Bridge.
From Olympia, take U.S. Highway 101 to the interchange south of Shelton, then get on Highway 3 and follow it to Pickering Road. It’s about a 40-minute drive.
There are a couple of ways to get to Spencer Lake from the north. SR 3 runs up the Kitsap Peninsula, while Highway 101 runs along the west side of Puget Sound, separated from the Kitsap Peninsula for most of the way by Hood Canal.
From Sequim, either way, it’s about a two-hour drive.
Spencer Lake is open year-round. A concrete boat launch is accessible from Spencer Lake Road, off East Pickering Road. Shoreline access is available by the boat launch area.
There are on-site restrooms, but no camping is allowed.