Steilacoom Lake in suburban Tacoma is open year round but gets the most angler attention in the spring, when fishing for rainbow trout is best.
However, this lake close to home is a fair bet for local bass anglers as well.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks quite a few thousand hatchery trout at this lake in early spring, around March, and fishing will be best in the weeks and couple months afterward.
Try still-fishing with bait or launching a small boat to troll lures or bait and you should catch fish, especially during the spring.
For more information about catching these fish, read our simple guide, Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.
Trout fishing tends to slow way down in the summer but sporadic catches are still possible.
Summer is perhaps a better time to go after bass.
Steilacoom Lake can produce a pretty good mix of both smallmouth and largemouth bass.
In recent years, anglers posting to Northwest Fishing Reports have shown off photos of both species of bass in chunky sizes topping 3 pounds.
There’s a ton of good bass habitat, including lots of coves, points, docks and overhanging trees along its twisting and turning shoreline.
There also are rock bass (actually a sunfish) and some of the other typical warmwater fish found here.
In fact, Steilacoom Lake produced the Washington state record for rock bass back in the early 1980s.
But before you get out the lunker gear, these aren’t large fish and the record is just 1.38 pounds, so your typical bass rod will be more than enough.
Location and Access
Steilacoom Lake is quite large at just over 300 acres. But it’s also quite shallow, with only a small area reaching 20 feet in depth.
Algae and aquatic weeds can be a problem later in summer and early fall.
Rather than being in the Steilacoom community, it’s actually located in the Lakewood city limits, just 20 minutes southwest of downtown Tacoma.
Most of the lake is surrounded by private homes, but there are a couple of places to get to the water to fish.
Edgewater Park, a Lakewood city park, is located on the northeast shoreline off Edgewater Drive SW.
The park has a free but fairly primitive boat ramp and bank fishing spots in addition to the usual park amenities like playgrounds, picnic tables and sports facilities.
Interlaken Drive SW crosses the lake near the midpoint, and maps show a bridge fishing area on the west side, but a boat is the best way to fish the full lake.