Fishing in Washington

Last updated on July 17th, 2021 at 08:43 pm. Originally published on July 13th, 2021

With more than 8,000 lakes, 70,000 miles of rivers and 3,000 miles of saltwater coastline, Washington is packed with angling opportunities. Try your luck with surf fishing off the western coast, or head to the Yakima River for fly-fishing. Whether you are coming alone or will be accompanied by kids, fishing Washington is a fun and bountiful experience. The state requires a license for everyone aged 15 and older. If you’re fishing for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon or halibut, keep in mind that the state requires you to maintain a catch record card, which you must return to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife whether you catch a fish or not. Many waterways in Washington have specific season dates, catch limits and catch-and-release rules, so it’s always a good idea to check regulations before a trip.

A bright blue lake sits between steep mountains covered with evergreen trees and rocky ridges.

Fishing Spots in Washington

Snoqualmie River

If you’re coming from Seattle, Snoqualmie River is a convenient fishing option as there are good fishing spots just an hour from the city. Fish for trout above Snoqualmie Falls near the town of Snoqualmie, or head to the Middle Fork below the falls to fly-fish for salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout. Keep in mind that the Middle Fork is a catch-and-release fishing area. Fishing regulations vary throughout the year, so make sure to check current rules before you go. Blue Sky RV Park is one of the most convenient and comfortable facilities nearby for fishing camping in Washington.

Fish Lake

Fish Lake is one of the best spots for peaceful, family-friendly fishing in Washington. Located about 20 miles north of Leavenworth, this beautiful lake is stocked regularly with rainbow trout and brook trout. The lake has a long shoreline and two docks, so it’s easy to find a quiet spot for fishing. Internal combustion motors are not allowed, but you can bring a canoe or kayak. Nearby Lake Wenatchee State Park offers waterfront RV camping.

Yakima River

Stretching for more than 200 miles throughout Central Washington, the Yakima River is a popular spot for year-round fly-fishing. Camp at the Palouse to Cascades State Park near Easton. Head south to explore more than 60 miles of fishing spots between the park and the Roza Dam. Rainbow trout and cutthroat trout are the most common local species.

Green Lake

Located a short drive north of downtown Seattle, Green Lake is a convenient, easy-to-reach fishing spot for families who want to know where to fish in Washington. This popular lake offers two swimming beaches, multiple boat launches and three different fishing piers. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks the lake with rainbow trout and brown trout, and occasionally, you can also catch a channel catfish. 

Joemma Beach State Park

Try your luck at saltwater fishing at Joemma Beach State Park. Located on the South Puget Sound near the town of Lakebay, this park offers camping and fishing. Launch a boat from the park’s ramp, and head out into the Sound to fish for salmon. In the fall, the coho salmon swim in the shallow waters, so you can often catch them from the shore.

Columbia River

If you’re looking to land a massive salmon while fishing Washington, head to the Columbia River during the spring, summer, and fall runs. Bring your RV to Maryhill State Park, and spend a few days fishing in Lake Umatilla above the John Day Dam in Goldendale. This section of the river is known for its fantastic walleye fishing, but you can also fish for smallmouth bass from the shore at Umatilla Park.

Where to Fish in Washington

You never need to wonder where to fish in Washington because you’re never far from a river, lake or ocean. For family-friendly fishing, check out the city-run lakes in the Seattle metro area. They’re often stocked and well-maintained. A short drive away, the Puget Sound offers excellent saltwater fishing. If you’re visiting Olympic National Park, check out Lake Quinault and the Pacific coast. Inland, Washington offers an array of massive rivers and reservoirs. The Columbia and Yakima Rivers are two good fishing spots. Near Chelan, you can fish in the enormous Lake Chelan.

Camping and Fishing in Washington

Washington features a thriving outdoor culture and a vast network of federal and state outdoor recreation areas, so finding campsites is a breeze. If you’re traveling to the mountainous northern regions, make sure to stock your RV and bring a satellite phone since some spots are isolated and out of range of major cell networks. In the winter, roads like WA-20 are often impassable due to high snow levels. 

When you’re fishing camping in Washington, it’s important to read up on bear safety. Black bears live near most of the state’s fishing spots except for the clear-cut areas along the Columbia River. Keep bears away from your camp by storing food in safe containers. If you’re cleaning fish, make sure to do so in a designated location. Local DNR offices and campground hosts can keep you updated on local bear activity. It’s a good idea to carry bear spray or other forms of protection, especially on backcountry fishing expeditions.

Fishing Washington comes with spectacular views and easy access. You can cast a line high in the Cascades or fly-fish amid pastoral farmlands. On the western side of the state, pounding surf and rugged, rocky shoreline awaits. Before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about fishing.

With an RV rental, your fishing trip will be a little more comfortable! After you’ve spent a long day fishing, grill up your catch right at your campsite. Then retire inside to enjoy all the comforts of home on board your RV. Plan your perfect fishing getaway with an RV rental from RVshare.

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