Gone Fishin’

Here’s where you can cast a line this summer

In the summer, hordes of hopeful fishers head out to the lakes to try to catch dinner. Or maybe they just go to catch some sun, hang out, and have a reason to drink beer.

In the South Sound, beautiful lakes surround us, so this might be the year you get out there catch dinner, or just catch and release.

Has your only previous fishing experience been buying a Big Mouth Billy Bass at the height of its popularity in the early 2000s? Well, it’s never too late to learn to fish. There are some lakes nearby stacked with fish where you can throw in a line.

Remember: When you tell people about your catch, estimate the length with your hands and add about 6 inches to several feet to the actual size of the fish. And be sure to add “It was this big,” to the story at some point.

Before You Go:

You’ll need to make sure you have a fishing license before you head out. You must have a freshwater or combination fishing license. You can apply online.

You’re also probably going to need some gear. Tom Sawyer might have just had a stick and some line, but that’s not going to cut it. Check out Puget Sound Fly Co., Bass Pro Shop, or hit up REI to rent some equipment.

Finally, you’re going to need to have a good attitude, because the fish might not always bite, but you’ll be enjoying a breezy, Northwest summer day on a lake.

A South Sound Fishin’ Trip:

Jim’s U-Fish, Spanaway: Here’s a great option for families learning to fish. Admission is $6, and each caught fish costs $6. Jim’s U-Fish will bag and clean the fish for free, so you don’t have to worry about messy guts, which can be a roadblock for new fishers. They’ll refrigerate your fish, so you can explore Old McDebbie’s Farm, also on the site. You can bring your own fishing pole, or rent one from The Shack. You can catch: rainbow trout.

American Lake, Lakewood: Lakewood’s beautiful American Lake boasts some of the best yellow perch fishing in Pierce County, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. It’s open year-round, and has two county parks that offer access, bank fishing, and facilities. You can catch: kokanee, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, rock bass, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch.

Deep Lake, Thurston County: With access via Millersylvania State Park, this fishing trip requires a Discover Pass. In the lake there are naturally reproducing populations as well as stock rainbow trout that are up to 9 to 11 inches. If you’re with a nonfisher, Millersylvania also offers a swimming area. You can catch: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish, yellow perch, and pumpkinseed sunfish.

Long Lake, Thurston County: Open year-round, this is a good spot to catch trout up to 16 inches. There are also opportunities to catch a variety of other types of fish. You can catch: rainbow trout, yellow perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, largemouth bass, rock bass, brown bullhead catfish, and common carp.

Black Lake, Olympia: Near the city of Olympia, this large lake is a great way to leave the city behind and get out in nature with only a short car ride. Black Lake offers swimming, fishing, and boating. It is open year-round. You can catch: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, and brown bullhead.

Source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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is a staff writer at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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