Bob Johansen - 4/14/2006
WASHINGTON'S KING COUNTY OFFERS ANGLERS MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR BOTH LUNKER LARGEMOUTH AND FEISTY SMALLMOUTH BLACK BASS
Washington's King County is not only the hub of Homo sapien population in the great Northwest, but also an area of many angling opportunities. Located on the briny shores of Puget Sound, and hosting many fine rivers, it was for decades, indeed, the "King of counties" for many salmon, trout and steelhead anglers.
Unfortunately, during the past few years, as the populations of humans continues to explode, the once teeming populations of salmon, trout and steelhead continues to decline.
On the plus side, King County has a total of 760 fresh water lakes and reservoirs and 423 of these lakes are at elevations of 2,500 feet or lower. Many of them now contain America's favorite game fish, the black bass -- both the largemouth and the smallmouth. Bass fishing is fast becoming a favorite among northwest piscatorial pursuits.
Most serious bass anglers diligently practice voluntary "hook and release" to insure exciting bass fishing far into the future. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has recognized this angler interest and has almost ceased the disputed use of rotenone to destroy bass populations from lakes once considered "trout only waters." The department now protects the bass in most lakes with slot limits and size restrictions. Be sure to check currentregulations.
I have personally fished nearly all the lakes in King County that contain a population of bass and have public access. My personal fishing records show 61 King County lakes successfully fished. Here is a brief description of a few my favorites -- all have undisputed public access and good populations of bass. Don't be surprised if you hook a real lunker in the five, six or even seven pound class. My biggest to date is 8 pounds, 4 ounces.
LAKE WASHINGTON: This huge 22,000 acre lake, located in the heart of the Seattle metropolitan area, contains many game fish species including the largemouth and smallmouth bass. During the past 15 to 20 years the smallmouth seems to be the predominate species and
can be found in most of the rocky shoreline areas around the lake. The old pilings and private docks are also a good bet during the spring. Crankbaits in silver or crayfish pattern are excellent lure choices. For largemouth, look for the remaining areas of aquatic vegetation like the Washington Park Arboretum on the south side of Union Bay. Black jigs and spinnerbaits in the 1/4 ounce size and 6 inch plastic worms will entice strikes.
Boat ramps that can handle almost any trailered boat are located at Newport Shores, Stan Sayres Park, Gene Coulon Park and Magnuson Park at Sand Point. There is a $5 launch fee at most of the launch areas.
ANGLE LAKE: This 102 acre, clear water lake is located just south of Seattle. This urban lake is almost completely ringed by private homes. Most of the homes have docks or floats that provide shade, shelter and ambush areas for the numerous hefty largemouth bass. The lake also has quite a bit of aquatic vegetation including several pad fields.
Largemouth can be caught around the entire shoreline with a variety of lures. My favorite lure on this lake in windless conditions is a floating minnow in silver to resemble the numerous trout planted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Make long casts. Other effective lures include white spinnerbaits and jigs fished around the docks and floats.
Public access is through the Angle Lake King County Park. The park provides modern restrooms, a large fishing dock, plenty of paved parking for tow rigs and trailers, and a steep concrete boat launching ramp. The launch ramp works well during the higher water levels of winter and early spring but can be quite rough during the lower water levels of late fall. The lake is open to year around angling.
To get to Angle Lake King County Park from Seattle, travel south on I-5 to the 200th Street exit. (Exit # 151) Follow S. 200th St. for only .6 mile to Pacific Highway So. Turn right (north) for .3 mile to Angle Lake County Park on the right.
STEEL LAKE: This 46 acre lake, with lots of pad fields, host some hefty largemouth bass. On calm windless mornings, floating minnow lures provoke smashing surface strikes. Black worms and jigs and spinnerbaits are also effective. Try fishing the edges and open pockets in the pad fields.
Public access is through the Federal Way Recreation Park to the WDFW public access area. The access area provides a concrete boat launching ramp and paved parking space. No internal combustion engines are allowed on the lake.
To get to Steel Lake from Seattle, travel south on I-5 to the 272nd St. exit. Turn left and follow 272nd St. for .2 mile to Military Road. Turn right and travel south on Military Road to S. 304th St. Turn right on 304th St. for .1 mile to 28th Ave. S. Turn left on 28th Ave. for .4 mile to S. 312th Street. Turn right for only about .1 mile and enter Federal Way Recreation Park on the right.
DOLLOFF LAKE: This little 21 acre, stained water lake, has lots and lots of pads and some nice sized largemouth bass. It also has a lot of overhanging brush on the north end. Weedless lures like Texas style worms and dark colored spinner baits are good lure choices.
Public access is provided by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. The large access area has plenty of parking space, pit toilets and a good concrete block launching ramp. No internal combustion engines are allowed on the lake.
To get to Dolloff Lake from Seattle, travel south on I-5 to the 272nd St. exit. Turn left on
272nd for .2 mile to Military Road. Turn right for 2.4 miles. Just as you pass under the I-5 freeway overpass, turn left onto 31st Ave. S. Follow 32nd Ave. for .3 mile to "Y" in the road. Keep right at "Y" onto 38th Ave. for .6 mile to WDFW public access on the right.
LAKE SAMMAMISH: Lake Sammamish has become one of the premiere smallmouth lakes in Washington State. Although it contains both the largemouth and the smallmouth, it is the smallmouth that predominates in this clean, clear water 4897 surface acre lake. Fish of near state record size are available.
Although the entire shoreline holds some fish, I have found the center third of both the east and west shorelines to be most productive. Private homes ring almost the entire shoreline of Lake Sammamish and most have docks that attract the feisty smallmouth.
Good lure choices are crankbaits in silver, perch and crawdad finishes. White, avocado and smoke colored grubs fished on a lead head and inline spinners are also productive lures. The "Carolina Rig" is also popular at Lake Sammamish. Try this set-up at the mouth of Issaquah Creek with a 4 inch black worm or leech. The smallmouth cruise this area looking for freshwater eels.
To get to Lake Sammamish from Seattle travel east on I-90 to Issaquah. Take the Front Street - East Lake Sammamish Pkwy. exit. (Exit #17). Turn left, back under the freeway on Front Street (Front Street becomes E. Lk. Sammamish Pkwy.) for 1.9 miles to Lake Sammamish
State Park on the left.
The large, very popular access area provides modern restrooms, lots of paved parking for tow rigs and trailers, and nine very good concrete boat launching ramps with docks. There is the standard state park launching fee of $4.00.
PINE LAKE: This 88 acre lake is located on the Sammamish Plateau, just east of Lake Sammamish and has a population of largemouth bass -- and probably to the surprise of even experienced King County bass anglers, I have caught a few smallmouth in this lake. This lake
has lots of private docks and lots of pad fields for bass habitat and angler casting targets. Most standard bass lures will work on this lake.
Public access to Pine Lake is through the Pine Lake King County Park. The park provides a shallow, gravel boat launch area, modern restrooms and a large fishing dock. There is an eight MPH speed limit on the lake. To get to Pine Lake, take the same directions as to Lake Sammamish -- except follow E. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. .3 mile past the Lk. Sammamish launch area to S.E. 43rd Way. Turn right up the hill for 2.4 miles to Pine Lake County Park on the left.Note: S.E. 43rd Way curves on top of the hill and becomes 228th Ave. S.E.
BASS LAKE: I mention this little, shallow, 24 acre, stained water lake because it is such a good early season lake. I have caught bass to 5 pounds in this lake as early as March. Later in the season it becomes very weedy and is difficult to fish. The shoreline is ringed by overhanging willows, brush and cattails -- no shoreline homes. Black, 1/4 ounce spinnerbaits and jigs work well in the early spring.
Public access is provided by the WDFW. The large access area has lots of parking space and a gravel boat launch that is best suited for hand carried craft. To get to Bass Lake from Renton, travel S.E. on Highway #169 to S.E. 283 St. The public access is just south of this street on the right.
LAKE MERIDIAN: This 150 acre lake contains both the largemouth and smallmouth bass. It is thelargemouth that predominates in this lake with itsabundance of aquatic weeds. Top water lures will provoke heart pounding surface strikes and spinnerbaits and plastic worms tempt the bass in the weeds. There are many shoreline homes on this lake and most have private
docks that attract the bass.
Public access is through the Lake Meridian King County Park. The park provides paved parking for tow rigs and trailers and a somewhat shallow concrete boat launching ramp. The park does not open until 8:00 AM, which is late for early bass anglers. There is also a WDFW access just north of the park that provides a shallow gravel launch area with limited parking.
To get to Lake Meridian from Kent, take Smith Street east for 4.8 miles to 152nd Way S.E. (Note: Smith Street becomes Highway #516 as it Y's right near the top of the hill.) Turn left on 152nd Way S.E. for about .4 mile to the county park boat launching area on the left.
LAKE SAWYER: This 279 acre, lightly stained water lake is among the most popular lakes with bass anglers and with good reasons. The lake not only hosts very good populations of bragging size largemouth and smallmouth bass but has "water skier protection." Boat speed limits posted at the launch ramp are: 30 MPH from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM Monday through Friday -- And, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM Saturday and Sunday and Holidays -- And, 8 MPH at all other times. Anglers can enjoy some serene bass fishing during prime time hours without being
bothered by water skiers, jet skiers, hot rodders and others in similar pursuits of seemingly exiguous value.
Lake Sawyer is open to year around angling and bass can be caught year around. Admittedly, fishing gets quite slow during the winter months and only a few of the most dedicated and talented bass anglers even try for the somewhat lethargic lunkers. Probably the
best time of the year to hook up with (and hopefully release) one of Lake Sawyer's king sized bass is during the spawning season which usually takes place from early May through June.
Most of the shoreline of this suburban lake is lined with nice private homes so there are plenty of docks, floats and other forms of man-made cover to attract the black bass. There are also lots of pad fields with some old pilings located at the southeast corner of the lake. Jigs and spinnerbaits fished along the edges and in the pockets of the pad fields entice a lot of strikes. During the calm, windless conditions try casting your favorite top water lure. I like the floating minnow lures in silver, gold and perch patterns in the 4 to 5 inch size. Crankbaits and plastic
worms fished around the docks and floats also provoke strikes.
Public access to Lake Sawyer is through the Lake Sawyer King County Park. The park provides limited but usually adequate parking space and an excellent, fairly new concrete and steel mesh boat launching ramp with just the right slope for floating bass rigs off trailers.
To get to Lake Sawyer from Renton, travel Highway #169 south east to the stop light at Four Corners and the intersection with the Kent-Kangley Road. Turn right onto Kent-Kangley Road (Highway #516) for 1.7 miles to 216th Ave. S.E. Turn left onto 216th Ave. S.E. for 1.7 miles to 296th St. Note: There is also a "Boat Launch" sign on this sign post. Turn left and follow 296th Street for only .2 mile to county park and the public boat launch ramp.
LAKE DESIRE: To the bass angler that loves solitude and big bass this lake could be named "Lake Desirable." This is one King County Lake where I have caught and released several largemouth over 5 pounds while fishing from a canoe. The entire lake shoreline looks like prime largemouth habitat and probably is. There are some shoreline homes with docks and
floats but much of the shoreline is large pad fields and overhanging brush. There are also lots of old logs and wood in the water that attract the big fish.
Lure choices are easy -- just tie on yourfavorite bass lure and it will catch fish. My
personal favorites include black spinnerbaits, black jigs, black 6 inch worms and of course, top water plugs during windless conditions -- especially during early mornings and late evenings.
Public access is provided by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. The large access area has fairly recently been updated and improved. It now provides lots of paved parking, a newer pit toilet, a nice fishing dock -- but still has a shallow gravel boat launching area. The launch is best suited for hand carried craft but small trailered boats can be launched.
No internal combustion engines are allowed on the lake and there is a slot limit on bass -- only bass less than 12 inches and over 15 inches can be kept. The limit is 5 fish with no more than 3 over 15 inches.
To get to Lake Desire from Renton, travel southeast on Highway #169 for 2.2 miles to the stoplight at 140th Way S.E. Turn right onto 140th S.E. for 1.9 miles to Petrovitsky Road. Turn left onto Petrovitsky Road for 1.9 miles to S.E. 184th Street. (Note: Sign post at S.E. 144th Street also has a "Lake Desire" sign.) Turn left on S.E. 184th Street for .8 mile to WDFW public access.
ALICE LAKE: Alice Lake covers 33 surface acres, reaches depths of about 30 feet and lies at an elevation of 875 feet. As you drive up the hill to Lake Alice, you will probably think the elevation is much more. Alice is open to year around fishing and provides good largemouth bass fishing opportunities from about the first of April through October.
Prime bass habitat in this clear water lake includes several private docks. a few pad fields and a few old submerged logs in the water.
Public access is provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The access is large with lots of parking space, pit toilets and a good concrete plank boat launching ramp for small trailered boats. No internal combustion engines are allowed on the lake.
To get to Alice Lake, travel to Issaquah and continue east on I-90 to the Fall City exit. (Exit #22). Turn left and follow the Preston-Fall City Road S.E. for 3.9 miles to the Lake Alice Road S.E. Turn right onto Lake Alice Road and travel 2.2 miles up the steep curvy road to the top of the hill. The road forks here – keep to the left on Lake Alice Road for another .5 miles to the WDFW public access on the right.
DEEP LAKE: This clear water lake covers 39 surface acres, reaches depths of about 100 feet and lies at an elevation of 770 feet. Fish species include rainbow and cutthroat trout, largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie and brown bullhead catfish.
Prime bass habitat in this lake includes lots of old logs and wood in the water, over hanging brush and trees and aquatic weeds. There are no private docks on this lake – only a fishing dock at Nolte State Park.
Public access is through Nolte State Park. The park provides a large picnic area, modern restrooms, the fishing dock and a hand carried boat launch area. Fishing water craft must be carried 50-60 feet to the lake shore. I have fished it several times from a canoe. There is no parking in the boat launch area and boat anglers must either park on the narrow shoulder of Veazie-Cumberland Road or drive back to the state park parking lot.
To get to Deep Lake from Renton, take Highway #169 towards Enumclaw to the yellow blinker light at S.E. 400th St. Turn left onto S.E. 400th St. and continue to the intersection of Veazie-Cumberland Road S.E. (Note: 400th St. makes an "S" curve and becomes S.E. 392 St. at intersection. Turn left onto Veazie-Cumberland Road for 2.0 miles to Nolte State Park entrance. Boat launch area is .4 mile north of park entrance.
FIVEMILE LAKE: This lake covers 38 surface acres, reaches depths of 32 feet and lies at an elevation of 400 feet. Fish species in this stained water lake include largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, bluegill and planted rainbow trout.
Prime bass habitat includes lots of pad fields, overhanging brush and trees and a few private docks.
Public access is through Fivemile Lake County Park. The park provides paved parking spaces, modern restrooms, picnic tables and a large fishing dock. Hand carried fishing craft must he hand carried or dragged for about 150 yards from the parking area to the water’s edge. An easier launch for hand carried boats is at the south-east corner of the lake from Military Road. Road side parking is very limited at this site. I have used this launch area many times to fish the lake from a canoe. I have also caught many nice bass here ranging up to almost 5 pounds.
HOLM LAKE: This little lake covers only 19 surface acres, reaches depths of about 31 feet and lies at an elevation of 400 feet. Fish species include largemouth bass, bullhead catfish and planted rainbow trout. The lake is open to year around fishing.
Prime bass habitat in this very stained water lake includes pad fields, private docks, overhanging brush and trees, old logs and wood in the water, and some cattails. Flowering irises add some nice color to the shoreline during the spring. Although this lake is quite small, I have caught and released 2 largemouth bass that were over 5 pounds.
Public access is provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The small access area has limited parking space, a gravel launching area – and during the spring it usually has a portable toilet. This access is best suited for hand carried craft. I have fished it several times from a canoe.
To get there from Auburn, take the S.E. Auburn-Black Diamond Road to the S.E. Lake Holm Road. It is the first right across the Green River Bridge. Turn right up the steep curvy Lake Holm Road for 2.7 miles to the WDFW public access on the left.
TROUT LAKE: This little 18 acre lake reaches depths of about 27 feet. Fish species include largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, brown bullhead catfish and planted rainbow trout. There some monster bass in this lake and I can recall at least when I was broken off. I have also caught some nice 12-13 inch crappie that smashed my floating Rapalas on the surface.
Prime bass habitat in these stained waters include some overhanging brush and trees, some pad fields and some private docks.
Public access is a street end at 44th Ave. S. Parking space is very limited but there is a good solid gravel boat launch area. It is somewhat difficult to maneuver a tow rig and trailer into the launch area. It is best suited for hand carried craft. And, internal combustion engines are not allowed on this lake. Trout Lake is open to year around fishing.
To get there from Seattle, travel south on I-5 to the 320th Street exit. (Exit #143) Turn left (east) under the freeway for .7 mile to Military Road. Turn right onto Military Road and travel south to 42nd St. S. This is just past Fivemile Lake County Park. Turn left onto 42nd St. S. for .7 mile as it curves and changes street numbers to 376th Street. Turn left onto S. 376th Street for less than .1 mile to street end public access at 44th Ave. S.
STAR LAKE: This little 34 surface acre lake reaches depths of about 50 feet. Depths in all lakes vary some with the seasons. Fish species include largemouth bass, yellow perch, bullhead catfish and planted rainbow trout.
Prime bass habitat in this clear water lake includes pad fields, a few overhanging trees and several private docks.
Public access is a street end at 37th Ave. S. Parking is very limited but usually adequate after the opening day rush. Star Lake is open to year around angling but it will still get the opening day crowds. This access is definitely best suited for the hand carried craft. It is very difficult to maneuver a tow rig and trailer at this access – and a difficult launch even if you can maneuver your boat to the waters edge. I have on occasion seen a few brave anglers launch small trailered boats here but it is definitely not for the faint hearted.
To get there from Seattle, travel south on I-5 to the 272nd St. exit. (Exit #47) Turn left (east) and follow 272nd St. for .2 mile to Military Road. Turn right onto Military Road for .2 mile to S. Star Lake Road. Turn left onto Star Lake Road for .4 mile to Street End public access at 37th Ave. S.
SPRING LAKE: This nice little 68 acre lake reaches depths of about 32 feet. Fish species include largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, brown bullhead catfish and planted rainbow trout.
Prime bass habitat in this clear water lake include pad fields, old logs and wood in the water and lots of private docks and floats.
Public access is provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The large access area has plenty of parking space, pit toilets and a shallow gravel boat launch area. No internal combustion engines are allowed on the lake.
To get there from Renton, take the Renton-Maple Valley Highway (Highway #169) about 6 miles to the stoplight at 196th Ave. S.E. Turn right, up the hill to S.E. 183rd Street to fork in the road. Keep right on W. Spring Lake Dr. S.E. for 1.0 mile to WDFW public access area.
SHADOW LAKE: This little 49 acre lake reaches depths of about 54 feet. Fish species include largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, pumpkin seed sunfish and planted rainbow trout.
Prime bass habitat in this stained water lake includes lots of lily pads, lots of overhanging brush and trees, some old logs and wood in the water and some private docks.
Public access is provided by the Washington Department of fish and Wildlife. The large access area has plenty of parking space, easy maneuvering of tow rig and trailer, pit toilets and a good concrete plank boat launching ramp. Although trailered boats can be launched, no internal combustion engines are allowed on the lake.
To get there from Renton, travel the Renton-Maple Valley Highway ( Highway #169) southeast for about 6 miles to the stoplight at 196th Ave. S. Turn right, up the hill for 2.6 miles to the Petrovitsky Road stoplight. Cross Petrovitsky Road and travel .5 mile to where 196th Ave. S.E. forks to the right. Continue on 196th Ave. S.E. for .4 mile to 213th Street. Turn right onto 213th Street and the WDFW public access is on the right.
Note to the readers. Some of this information was gathered a few years ago and may have some errors due to changes made since that time. However, I think most of the information will still be valid. Good luck – And, please remember to release most of your bass – especially during the spawning season. No self respecting angler needs to prove anything my killing a limit every time out.
By Bob Johansen – April 2006