Wapato Lake, located in a tree-shaded Tacoma park, is a great place for kids to go fishing in the springtime.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks Wapato Lake every spring with a few thousand hatchery rainbow trout, which are easy for beginning anglers to catch at this approximately 25-acre lake.
The lake is restricted to fishing for young anglers (under 15 years old), or anglers with qualifying disabilities under WDFW’s regulations.
The lake might be stocked a couple times each spring, perhaps timed to school breaks.
The easiest way to catch trout is by fishing with bait. Nightcrawlers or other types of worms, jarred salmon eggs or prepared bait dough like PowerBait are all pretty good bets to catch trout.
If trout are feeding near the surface, which is common in the spring when the water is still cool, fishing with your bait under a bobber is a great plan.
Not only does the bobber keep the bait where the trout are, the bobber will bounce and dive when a fish takes the bait, signaling that it’s time to set the hook with a sharp pull of the fishing rod and reeling in a fish if hooked.
Anglers also sometimes like to cast lures such as spinners or spoons. Fly fishing also is a fun but more complicated way to catch trout, but make sure it’s a safe location for your backcast.
The lake is open all year but can have some water quality issues with algae blooms later in the year, although it is treated at times to help solve the problem.
Wapato Park includes a nice, nearly 1-mile trail encircling the entire lake and offering access to different fishing spots.
There’s also a playground, dog park, picnic areas and even a historic pergola, a partially shaded walkway.
The lake is located in the South Tacoma area just east of Interstate 5, basically behind WinCo Foods.