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Hooked on a feeling

Lakes, fishing and camping abound

The popular American Lake offers camping and fishing opportunities. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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With nearly 8,000 lakes in the state, Washington offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the water. For those of you new to the area, what follows is a very partial listing of some of the lakes nearby that offer opportunities for swimming, fishing and camping.


Black Lake:  Open year-round, this 573-acre lake offers excellent fishing opportunities.  Stocked with rainbow trout in the fall and spring, it also supports naturally reproducing coastal cutthroat trout. There is a boat launch.  

St. Clair Lake: This 233-acre lake is also open all year and supports populations of bluegill sunfish, largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie and channel catfish.

There are two access sites to the water; one site is improved with a boat launch and toilets.

For more information about both of these lakes, visit

Offut Lake:  Located 15 miles south of Olympia near Tenino, this 192-acre lake teems year-round with a wide range of freshwater fish.

On the shoreline, visitors can rent a cabin, park an RV or pitch a tent. Rounding out the experience are a lakefront restaurant and bar, dock fishing, boat rentals, fishing licenses and tackle. Electric boats only are allowed.  For more information, visit


Bay Lake: Located between Joemma Beach State Park and Penrose Point State Park on the Southeast Key Peninsula, this 127 acres of water offers year-round trout fishing as well as plenty of largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish and pumpkinseed sunfish.

Camping is not available on Bay Lake; however, camping is available in the two state parks flanking it. For more information, visit

American Lake:  At almost 1,100 acres, this lake is open year-round and offers anglers the chance to snag rainbow trout and kokanee along with rock bass, small and largemouth bass and coastal cutthroat trout.

Through the Northwest Adventure Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, camping and cabins are available for rent.  For more information, visit

Across I-5 from JBLM is the Washington National Guard's Camp Murray, which offers a campground and recreational vehicle hookup.  

For more information, visit

Alder Lake:  A seven-mile long reservoir created on the Nisqually River by the Alder Dam outside of Eatonville, this 3,000-acre body of water offers the usual suspects of cutthroat trout, kokanee, yellow perch, black crappie and bullhead catfish.

Near the dam is a camping park that offers tent and RV sites, boat ramps, a dock and a protected swimming area.  For more information, visit

Hart's Lake:  Located just outside of Roy, this relatively small, 111-acre lake offers a good selection of fish all year to include trout, bass, perch, catfish and sunfish.

For information about camping, RV parking and fishing, call 360.400.1386.


Lake Cushman:  For those willing to drive a bit farther, this 4,000-acre lake offers fishing for most freshwater fish types except rainbow trout.

Skokomish Park abuts the lake and offers 100 sites for tents, RVs and campers.  For more information, visit


Fish Lake:  Located about 16 miles north of Leavenworth, this 493-acre lake provides good fishing throughout the year.  Trout and perch are the two most popular fish, and as a change of pace, ice fishing is available during the winter months.

Campgrounds abound, and they run the gamut -- from fully developed sites with running water and restrooms to primitive spots featuring not much more than a fire ring.

For more info, visit

This is but a nibble of what awaits you as you enjoy the natural beauty of this state.

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