Seattle might be a big, bustling city, but its access to fishing opportunities are some of the best in the country. Here’s a list of go-to spots for tight lines and full coolers.
With quick access to mountains, lakes, the temperate rainforest, and the ocean, Seattle is one of this country’s premier outdoor cities. This corner of the Pacific Northwest is a dreamscape for just about any outdoor enthusiast.
But anglers should rejoice. Saltwater and freshwater opportunities abound, with species from squid to trout to steelhead. Whether you’re an amateur or experienced angler, check out these six best inland fishing spots near Seattle.
Best Fishing Spots Near Seattle
1. Green Lake
- Location: Green Lake Park, Seattle, Washington
- Distance from downtown Seattle: 6.5 miles
- Drive time from downtown Seattle: 22 minutes
- Fish: Rainbow trout, brown trout, catfish, carp, largemouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, and brown bullhead
- Highlights: Close to downtown, open 24 hours a day, social fishing experience, great trout fishing
Located just north of downtown Seattle, Green Lake is the perfect urban getaway for all anglers. As far as Seattle lake fishing goes, this lake is hard to beat, as it’s surprisingly one of the best trout fisheries in all of western Washington.
You can catch stocked rainbow and brown trout all hours of the day and year-round. Green Lake Park is a popular spot and, if you’re just getting into fishing, it’s a great place to meet more experienced anglers who can help show you the ropes.
Photo credit: Fiore Power
2. Lake Washington
- Location: Seattle, Washington
- Distance from downtown Seattle: As close as 4 miles
- Drive time from downtown Seattle: 15 minutes
- Fish: Over 40 species (cutthroat and steelhead trout, coho, chinook, and sockeye salmon, kokanee, large and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and crappie)
- Highlights: Big and beautiful body of water, great views of Mt. Rainier, proximity to downtown, many places to fish and many species to fish for
We can’t talk about Seattle lake fishing without mentioning Lake Washington. This massive lake — about 20 miles long — is an angler’s dream. Fishing on the lake is open year-round, with special regulations in place for different species of fish.
The Reverend Murphy Fishing Pier has one of the city’s best views of the mammoth Mt. Rainier, but Lake Washington has plenty of equally beautiful piers, parks, and beaches. More than 40 species of fish in the lake — including cutthroat trout, salmon, and bass — provide some of the most diverse Seattle lake fishing opportunities.
3. Lake Sammamish
- Location: Issaquah, Washington
- Distance from downtown Seattle: 15 miles to Lake Sammamish State Park
- Drive time from downtown Seattle: 21 minutes to Lake Sammamish State Park
- Fish: Smallmouth and largemouth bass, cutthroat trout, coho salmon, perch, sunfish, and catfish
- Highlights: Close to downtown but feels like a destination, excellent bass fishing, beautiful views, large lake allows for solitude
Lake Sammamish is nearly 5,000 acres just outside of Seattle proper. While a good place to go for cutthroat trout in spring and fall, and coho salmon in the fall, Lake Sammamish is best known for its bass fishing.
Smallmouth bass are plentiful and sizable in the lake, and largemouth bass are available though caught less frequently. Lake Sammamish State Park is a go-to destination, but many other beautiful parks and beaches are lining the shore. Of course, if you have access to a boat, nothing beats being out on the water!
4. Snoqualmie River
- Location: King and Snohomish counties
- Distance from downtown Seattle: 29 miles to Snoqualmie Falls
- Drive time from downtown Seattle: 36 minutes to Snoqualmie Falls
- Fish: Trout and salmon
- Highlights: Lush and beautiful riverbanks, unique opportunity to try for migratory fish, inspiring waterfalls, proximity to Seattle
When it comes to Seattle river fishing, the Snoqualmie River is hard to beat. This 45-mile-long stretch of water east of Seattle is a great destination for salmon and steelhead fishing. While fish numbers have greatly diminished over the years, the Snoqualmie is still worthy of your time.
Depending on the size of other runs (such as coho and pink salmon), the lower Snoqualmie may be open to additional fishing. Snoqualmie Falls near Issaquah is worth a sightseeing stop, but the sheer size of these falls prevents migratory fish from heading further upstream.
That said, the more northern reaches of the Snoqualmie River are still good for catching some native and invasive trout species.
5. South Fork of the Skykomish River
- Location: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
- Distance from downtown Seattle: 60 miles
- Drive time from downtown Seattle: 1 hour and 15 minutes
- Fish: Rainbow, cutthroat, and bull trout
- Highlights: Stunning location, provides a true mountain escape, top-notch trout fishing, designated as a State Scenic Waterway
If you have the means, do yourself a favor and head into the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest for some excellent Seattle river fishing. The South Fork, made up of the Beckler, Foss, and Tye rivers, is home to various trout.
Salmon and steelhead also find their way into this beautiful stretch of river, but these species are protected, and anglers aren’t permitted to target them. With excellent wildlife habitat, pristine waters, and ample recreational opportunities, the Skykomish River has earned its place as a State Scenic Waterway.
6. Fishing the Pacific Salt
- Location: Public fishing piers near the city, the San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, and more
- Distance from downtown Seattle: Varies, but city piers provide close opportunities for salt species
- Fish: Flounder, multiple types of salmon, Dungeness and red rock crabs, multiple types of squid and octopus, lingcod, halibut, steelhead, sea-run cutthroat trout, green sturgeon, and more
- Highlights: The variability of fishing the salt near Seattle is immense and has some of the best-eating marine life in the country
Salmon fishing is a way of life near Seattle, and the opportunities to catch all sorts of game fish are plentiful across the board. Head out in a kayak, fish from shore, charter a boat, or learn how to jig for squid, and you’re likely to get into some world-class fishing.
You can locate public fishing piers easily thanks to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Be sure to bone up on your fishing regs, as they vary by species and time of year.
If you head out into more open waters, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of resident or transient orcas, minke whales, humpbacks, bottlenose dolphins, and more.
Fishing Near Seattle
Seattle has a ton to offer as an urban destination, but many locals and visitors alike are as drawn to the beauty surrounding this metropolis as they are to the city itself. If you’re coming to this hub of the Pacific Northwest and fishing is your thing, you’re in luck.
In addition to world-class deep-sea options in the Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean, the Seattle area has countless lakes and streams to toss a line in the water.