Washington, commonly known as the Evergreen State, is famous for its beautiful scenery, natural landscapes, and wildlife. These stunning features provide just the most idyllic backgrounds for largemouth bass fishing.
While the scenery may act as a plus, the primary consideration for most anglers is usually where to find the best fishing spots. Where can they quickly get the type of fish they are targeting?
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the top six largemouth bass fishing spots in Washington. This guide is suitable for anglers familiar with the northwest state and even first-time visitors.
The Best Places To Go Largemouth Bass Fishing in Washington State Include:
1. Lake Washington
- It’s about 88 km2 wide and 108 ft deep. It’s the second largest lake in Washington, after L. Chelan
- It is located in between four cities; Kirkland (east), Seattle (west), Kenmore (north), and Bellevue & Renton (south)
- Found between Seattle and Bellevue
- Has a mixed species fishery
- Its famous largemouth bass fishing sections include the region around the Lake Washington Arboretum, the north end (close to River Sammamish’s mouth), and Newport Shores
- Has an island – Mercer Island – towards its south end.
Lake Washington is easily accessible from the metro area. It’s located just a few miles to the east of downtown Seattle. The lake, which is the largest (freshwater) lake in King County, is famous for largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing. It also harbors other fish varieties like trout and salmon.
Anglers can fish from the bank or boat ramps if they want to launch vessels. Alternatively, you can opt to use one of the several piers around the lake. The lake’s docks are usable throughout the year. There are both deepwater piers and shallow water piers, making it possible to target largemouth bass at any time of the year regardless of the water depths.
2. Lake Sammamish
- It’s about eight square miles in size.
- It has only one primary public access point, through the Lake Sammamish State Park located at its southern end.
- Doesn’t allow two-pole fishing.
- To launch a vessel, anglers must have an annual launch permit or a Discover Pass.
- Regulations limit anglers to harvesting a maximum of 10 largemouth bass daily.
- Although you must release any fish between 12-17 inches, you’re allowed to retain one bass 17 inches.
Lake Sammamish is also favorable for those who reside in or around Seattle. The large lake is just a 15 to 20 minutes drive away from the CBD.
It is home to several fish species, from largemouth bass to yellow perch, cutthroat trout. Although its main draw is trout and smallmouth bass, the lake has also acquired considerable popularity with largemouth bass anglers in the recent past.
You can access Lake Sammamish’s waters from Lake Sammamish State Park, which allows for both shoe fishing and vessels’ launching. There are many docks around the lake suitable for setting up drop shot rigs to target largemouth bass. The park also has plenty of boats and kayaks that you can rent and take out.
3. Columbia River
- The biggest river in the American West
- Several access points
- All-year-round fishery, with peak seasons being in April, May, September, and October.
The Columbia River has become a popular largemouth fishing spot in Washington over the years.
Its most frequented stretch is the one that runs around the Bonneville Dam. This is because it allows anglers good access to the river from either side of the dam. The stretch also has a fishing pier at Rock Cove. Alternatively, you can go all the way to Hamilton Island and use the boat ramp services there.
The best lure to use in the Columbia River is lipless crankbaits. This is because they can easily cover the water. Again, they are suitable for the river’s changing conditions throughout the year.
4. Moses Lake
- Found west of Moses Lake-town.
- Found in central Washington.
- Year-round largemouth bass fishing opportunities.
- 6,800 acres wide.
- Human-made lake. It was created from the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project.
- Good shoreline access with several access points.
- Two-pole fishing is allowed.
Moses Lake is located about 170 miles east of Seattle. It’s an ideal spot for both largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing. There are also chances that you can catch rainbow trout or walleye.
The most popular Moses Lake fishing spot is Blue Heron Park. The park has, among other fishing facilities, a boat launch and a fishing bridge. It’s located just 190 miles off Seattle.
Although Moses Lake allows for fishing throughout the year, the best times to go largemouth fishing here are between April and September. When the winters are too cold, sometimes the lake’s waters freeze over. However, such conditions are usually sporadic. And when they occur, the lake becomes a popular ice bass fishing destination.
5. Potholes Reservoir
- One of the best bass fishing destinations in the Pacific Northwest.
- It was created during the construction of the O’Sullivan Dam.
- Found approximately 7 miles to the south of Moses Lake.
- 28,000 acres wide.
- Year-round fishing opportunities.
- Several public launches, elbow rooms, and shoreline accommodations.
- Has access to convenience stores, boat ramps, lodging, and camping facilities.
Like Moses Lake, Potholes reservoir is suitable for largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing and has trout and walleye.
The reservoir has several access points, the main one being the shore fishing spot at Potholes State Park. It offers all-year-round fishing, even during winters when the waters freeze, and the reservoir becomes an ice fishing destination.
The Potholes Reservoir’s landscape makes it a favorable bass habitat. From dunes to submerged timber, rocks, cover from structures, islands, etc., both largemouth and smallmouth bass can easily survive in the reservoir’s waters.
If you are particularly interested in largemouth bass fishing, the best spot is the reservoir’s northern portion. This section has lots of dunes, which means shallow water that’s fantastic for bass.
6. Cow Lake
- About 9.6 miles from Ritzville, near Emden
- Allows two-pole fishing
- Suitable for fly fishing, spinning, and baitcasting.
Found along Wellsandt Road, about nine miles to the east of Ritzville. It was rehabilitated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in 2007 to eradicate nuisance fish. Rehabilitation also came with the restoration of a mixed species fishery.
The two most common fish types in Cow Lake are largemouth bass and bluegill sunfish. WDFW has also been recently stalking the lake with brown bullhead catfish, grass pickerel, and catchable-size rainbow trout.
What You Should Know Before Fishing In Washington State
Washington State offers a vast array of fishing opportunities for both beginners and seasoned anglers.
Before you visit any particular fishing spot, however, you must ensure you are aware of the following provisions:
- Do You Have the Required Licenses? If not, where can you acquire one? If found fishing without the required permits, you risk fines or sanctions from fishing in the state’s waters.
- Which Fishing Methods Are Allowed/Prohibited? Specifically, check if your preferred destination permits two-pole fishing; this is usually the most contentious method.
- Also, Check if There Are Any Temporary Fishing Bans on Your Selected Destinations. Not all lakes or rivers will have year-round fishing.
- What Volumes/Numbers of Fish Are You Allowed To Harvest per Day?
- Where Can You Get Essential Utilities Like Washrooms and Eateries Around the Fishing Spot? It’s also important to know if there are any fishery offices around, i.e., who can you contact in case of an emergency, accident, or just for clarification?
If you are not sure about anything, you can always consult with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. They handle everything from developing fishing regulations, granting/revoking licenses, restocking fishing spots, ensuring safety, etc. Usually, they have an office or two around major fishing spots. If you can’t trace their physical offices, a better option is to contact them online.
Good luck on your fishing expedition!