Oregon and Washington are packed full of plentiful trout and places to catch ‘em, but getting to them might take a bit of an arduous hike. We’ve chosen a few spots that we think are worth the effort.
Heather Lake, Snohomish County
The first Alpine Lakes spot to make the list is Heather Lake in Snohomish County. Heather is an easier hike to get to in comparison to other spots, at only 1.4 miles and 1,100 feet of elevation, and is chock full of cutthroat trout. They only range between 6-8 inches, typically, but the lake opens earlier in the season because of its low elevation, making it a great place to get your feet wet for the year.
Enchantment Lakes, Washington
While there are a great deal of brook, cutthroat and rainbow trout to be found in Enchantment Lakes, the real reason this makes the list is mostly superficial—it’s beautiful here, folks. If you’re looking for a place to just get away from it all, you can’t go wrong making the rough hike up the peaks of the North Cascades to these lakes. The area is permit-only and they’re handed out on a limited basis (only 60 a day) so it’s never crowded and provides great solitude and views while you’re waiting for that bite.
Warden Lake, Grant County, Washington
Warden Lake in Grant County, Washington often finds itself being named the location of the state’s best opening-day lakes in the region. That’s because the area is so well stocked that most who fish here are able to meet the daily limits in no time at all. The trout range in size from 12 to 20 inches long, and the area is occasionally stocked with tiger trout. The area is best suited for boaters, because the deeper waters are where you’ll find the big ones here.
The Lower Deschutes River
The Deschutes River is one of the few spots in the Northwest designated as native-only. The river is swamped with both wild trout and steelheads, with the Lower Deschutes being home to around 3500 trout per mile. Each year summer steelheads flood into the river making it one of the most crowded sources of trout fishing in the country. You pretty much can’t leave here without claiming one of the best catches of your life.
Upper Klamath Lake, South Oregon
Upper Klamath is famous for a type of rainbow trout known as trophy redband trout. They tend to weigh in around upwards of 8 pounds or more, making them an ideal target for local and visiting fisherman. Trout flock to the area every summer to the creek beds of Upper Klamath in search of cooler water. The area is also known for its perch population, in case anyone is looking for a little variety while they fish.
The Rogue River is widely considered one of the Pacific Northwest’s premiere fisheries because of its variety of salmon, steelhead and trout up for grabs. The area is drowning in native rainbow and cutthroat trout throughout the lakes and streams, and brown and brook trout have even been introduced in parts of the forest throughout the years. During the fall season thousands of “half-pounders” return to the lower Rogue River canyon to spawn and provide anglers with a great fishing experience.