Top 5 Pacific Northwest Fishing Destinations

The Pacific Northwest is one of the most unique regions in the world. It is home to the tallest mountains in the contiguous United States, the only rainforest in North America, one of the world’s longest fjord coastlines, and some really fantastic fishing spots.

Here are five of the best fishing destinations in the Pacific Northwest, all worthy of a visit:

  1. Puget Sound, Washington

Top 5 Pacific Northwest Fishing Spots - Puget Sound Washington

Puget Sound is known as one of the greatest saltwater fishing areas in the entire world. This complex estuarine system, located to the west of Seattle, offers excellent angling. Puget Sound is expansive, covering over 1,000 square miles, and contains one of the planet’s longest fjord coastlines. Thankfully, numerous guides offer their services to anglers searching for the best fishing locations in Puget Sound.

A variety of marine life can be found in abundance within the waters of Puget Sound. In fact, the bulk of what is sold in Seattle’s diverse fish market is caught from Puget Sound. Just a few fish species that can be hooked there include:

  • King Salmon
  • Coho Salmon
  • Flounder
  • Lingcod
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Steelhead
  • Green Sturgeon
  • Pacific Halibut
  • Cabezon

Tip: The area from Vashon Island to Admiralty Inlet is one of the best places to catch king salmon.

  1. Bighorn Lake, Wyoming/Montana

Pacific Northwest Fishing - Finding The Best Spots - Bighorn Lake Wyoming Michigan

Located behind Yellowtail Dam, at the bottom of a deep canyon, Bighorn Lake straddles the border of Wyoming and Montana. This 11,000 acre lake is found within the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, making it a great place for anglers and campers. This area offers a plethora of outdoor activities in addition to fishing, including hiking. The most notable catch of Bighorn Lake is its Smallmouth Bass. This lake is a bass hotspot. Lake Bighorn is a great fishing destination for anglers looking to catch:

  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Channel Catfish
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Walleye
  • Crappie
  • Walleye
  • Perch
  1. Columbia River, Washington/Oregon

Washington Fishing - How To Find Good Fishing Spots - Columbia River Washington Oregon

The longest river in the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River, forms a natural border between Washington and Oregon while offering many diverse fishing opportunities. These brackish waters contain countless colossal fish, nearly guaranteeing you an impressive catch. Columbia River is known as a mecca for walleye-anglers. It’s a great location for bass fishing as well. In fact, it may arguably be the best place in the entire country to fish for Smallmouth Bass, and anglers can find many aggressive, hefty Largemouth Bass within this river too. The Columbia River is packed with a plenitude of large fish, including:

  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Walleye
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Coho Salmon
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Catfish
  • Steelhead
  • Sturgeon
  1. Lake Sammamish

Top Northwest Salmon Fishing Spots - Lake Sammamish

Lake Sammamish is located just 20 minutes outside of bustling Seattle, but unveils solitude to any angler looking to find it. The nearly 5,000 acre lake exhibits some of the most beautiful views the Pacific Northwest has to offer. In addition to scenery, this lake holds some of the finest fishing in the region. While the lake is wonderful in the spring and fall for cutthroat trout fishing, and coho salmon in the fall, it is most well-known for its bass fishing. Lake Sammamish is teeming with monstrous Smallmouth Bass. The lake also holds Largemouth Bass, but those are caught at a less frequent rate. Other fish that can be found here include:

  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Coho Salmon
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Perch Sunfish
  • Yellow Perch
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Bluegill
  • Sunfish
  • Catfish

5.  Salmon River, Idaho

Salmon Fishing In Pacific Northwest - Salmon River Idaho

The Salmon River is one of the most unique waterways in the country. Salmon and Steelhead trek 800 miles from the Pacific Ocean to reach the Salmon River, making these waters the home of some of the most ambitious fish on the planet. The Salmon River is also a great place to find trout any time of year. January to mid-May marks the best time to fish for Steelhead, as it is when these fish make their long journey from the ocean. If you are looking to fish for Salmon, you will find the most luck between April and June. The river provides habitat for a variety of fish species, including:

  • Chinook Salmon
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Steelhead
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Bull Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Mountain White Fish
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Squawfish
  • Sturgeon

Honorable Mentions:

There are so many wonderful fishing spots in the Pacific Northwest, it’s difficult to narrow this list down to only five. The Pacific Northwest region offers numerous year-round fishing opportunities that are sure to delight any angler.

 Here are some fishing spots that deserve a mention:

  • Lake Coeur D’Alene, Idaho
  • Noxon Rapids Reservoir, Montana
  • Green Lake, Washington
  • Yosemite National Park

Whether you’re on a road trip, bike trip, or backpacking trip through the Pacific Northwest, there’s a ton of great places to stop and fish, especially if you’re carrying one of our handcrafted ultra-lightweight fishing rods in your saddle-bag or backpack.

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