Where should I go fishing in Olympic National Park?
This is the largest lake in the park and the most convenient for Port Angeles fishing aficionados. There are 5,000 acres to choose from and not only can you fish in this crystal clear lake but also canoe and kayak, swim, and enjoy a meal or drink at the nearby picturesque Lake Crescent Lodge.
- Location: About 18 miles west of Port Angeles just off Highway 101.
- Seasons: June 1 to October 31
- Marina/Boat Launch: There are several boat launches on the lake
- Fishing: Currently, fishing on Crescent is catch-and-release only due to concerns for the native Beardslee rainbow trout and coastal cutthroat trout. Look for Kokanee salmon as well.
This 4,010-acre lake is a popular summer resort on the east side of the park. The water is bright blue and surrounded by magnificent trees. Here, guests can go boating, swimming, and hiking as well as fishing.
- Location: Lake Cushman is on the east side of Olympic National Park. From Port Angeles, take 101 to right on Washington 119. Travel 4 miles and make a left on North Standstill Drive South. This will put you in the town of Hoodsport. Follow signs for the lake.
- Seasons: Open year round but public launch access is limited to Memorial Day through Labor Day.
- Marina/Boat Launch: The Lake Cushman Resort offers boat ramps but many anglers just drop their line off the resort dock. The resort also has a marina. Lake Cushman State Park/Camp Cushman also has a boat ramp.
- Fishing: Expect to catch several species of salmon as well as cutthroat, rainbow, Dolly Varden char, and steelhead.
Four-mile-long Lake Quinault sits in the middle of the rainforest and is an excellent location for hiking, scenic walks, and camping. There’s also a picturesque lodge on site where you can stay overnight. Remember to take a look around the history museum, too.
- Location: Take U.S. Highway 101 to mile marker 125, which is on the southwest side of the Olympic National Park. Turn left onto Northshore Road and follow signs for the lake.
- Seasons: Year round
- Marina/Boat Launch: There are several boat launches around the lake and at the resort.
- Fishing: Fishing here is regulated by the Quinault Tribe and you must have a permit. Once properly licensed, you can catch Kokanee salmon, cutthroat, and Dolly Varden char. As a matter of fact, this is one of the only lakes on the peninsula where you can keep a Dolly Varden.
Sol Duc River
The most accessible river for Olympic Peninsula fishing, with a park road running right beside it, the Sol Duc River and the area around it provides great spots for hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, camping, and soaking in the nearby hot springs.
- Location: From Port Angeles, take Highway 101 west to Sol Duc Road. Follow the road to various markings for the river and other attractions.
- Seasons: Year round
- Marina/Boat Launch: There are two boat ramps – one near the hatchery and another on the opposite end near Shuwah.
- Fishing: The steelhead run in the winter is fabulous! In the spring and summer, look for huge King salmon. This is one of the only rivers where you can catch all five species of salmon. But be careful as the waters can get quite rough!
The largest river on the Olympic Peninsula, the Hoh is surrounded by luscious rainforest where hiking is popular. You can also enjoy some flatwater rafting, kayaking, and camping.
- Location: take Highway 101 to about 15 miles south of Forks (mile post 178). Signs for the Hoh River and rainforest are clearly marked.
- Seasons: Year round
- Marina/Boat Launch: There are several places to access the river but for an easy put-in, check out Morgan’s Crossing just off Rainforest Road. Anglers can also wade or fish from the banks.
- Fishing: There are both summer and winter runs of steelhead on the Hoh. Chinook salmon can be nabbed from April through November and this variety is the main reason people fish here. Coho are available from August through early winter with October being the prime time to catch them.
Do I need a fishing license?
You do not need a license to fish within Olympic National Park. However, to fish for salmon or steelhead you need a Washington State catch record card (free). Also, remember that some lakes are governed by area tribes – like Quinault – so you’ll need to follow their rules. For more information, contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at 360-902-2464 or check out their website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/