Washington Fishing

Washington Fishing

Washington fishing takes a back seat to few places on earth. Even though it is a populous state there are regions of Washington that are incredibly remote, and some of its salmon and steelhead runs rival those in Alaska. The Puget Sound area offers everything from sea run cutthroat to rockfish to blackmouth Chinook, while a few hundred miles east the North Cascades offer stunning scenery and hike-in adventures for high alpine trout.

Seattle’s Urban Charms

Metropolitan Seattle is surrounded by fishing of many kinds, and has everything a big city can offer in nightlife and entertainment, as well as restaurants, major league baseball and football, and the popular Pike’s Place Fish Market. Washington fishing in the Puget Sound includes rockfish, Chinook, silver and pink salmon, as well as crabbing, clamming, and sea-run cutthroats in Lake Washington.

Local rivers such as the Skagit are not only known for their fishing, but for the incredible scenery they flow through.

Washington fishing
A short drive from Seattle, the Skagit River has strong runs of salmon, steelhead, and giant Dolly Varden trout. Photo by Terry Otto

To the east of the city in the North Cascade Mountains high country trout lakes mirror the magnificent, pinnacle-of-the-world scenery around them.  Rainbow and cutthroat trout wait in the deep lakes for those souls hardy enough to hike in. A few miles farther east anglers can sample giant rainbows at Rufus Woods Lake.

Olympic Peninsula-Washington’s best salmon and steelhead fishing

Any Washington fishing trip should include a visit to the Olympic Peninsula, where just a couple hours’ drive west from Seattle the state’s best salmon and steelhead fishing can be found. Legendary rivers like the Hoh and Quillayute draw anglers from the world over, looking for that once-in-a-lifetime trophy steelhead.

To the east of the city in the North Cascade Mountains high country trout lakes mirror the magnificent, pinnacle-of-the-world scenery.  Rainbow and cutthroat trout wait in the deep lakes for those souls hardy enough to hike in.

Westport, gateway to ocean riches

Westport is the hub of the Evergreen State’s ocean fishing capital,

washington fishing
An ocean angler tangles with a king salmon out of Westport, Washington Photo by Terry Otto

where charter captains and weekend boaters put out in the Pacific Ocean to sample the halibut, salmon, and albacore tuna in the summer. Anglers catch rockfish, greenling, and crabs from the port’s jetties.

Fishing the Columbia River

Washington fishing includes this world-known river that travels the entire length of the state, and offers top-notch fishing from Lake Roosevelt to the sea. Roosevelt has great kokanee salmon and rainbow trout that are highly prized as table fare, while further down the river sockeye salmon and steelhead rule the summer. Year-long runs of king salmon and fall runs of silvers drive the lower Columbia fisheries.

Walleye, smallmouth bass, and other warm water fisheries offer chances for real trophy fish, and while the sturgeon population has hit hard times, anglers can still catch and release giant sturgeon up to twelve feet long.

Washington fishing on the fly

The lakes and rivers of central and eastern Washington are haunted by trout of all kinds, including

Washington Fishing
The author fights a Klickitat River steelhead. This central Washington stream offers fine steelheading as well as Kings and coho salmon in the fall.

brown trout, brook trout, rainbows, cutthroats, mackinaw, and kokanee salmon. For the fly fishermen, the Yakima River may be the best bet for trout, and steelhead fly fishing waters include the Grande Ronde and the Klickitat rivers. These streams all flow through incredible rugged scenery.

Snake River

The final stop on the Washington fishing tour is the Snake River, where anglers cast flies for steelhead, brown trout and cutthroat trout. Gear anglers look to the warm water species in the river, including smallmouth bass, crappie, and catfish.

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