Let’s start with what makes Bellingham and the surrounding Whatcom County a great place to fish. A lot has to do with the perfect location. Being nestled between the northern Cascade mountain range and the Salish Sea you get access to both fresh water and saltwater fishing. Keep in mind where ever you do decide to drop a line in you will need to get a Washington State Fishing License which can be done online or in-person at Yeager’s Sporting Goods.

You’re also gonna need the appropriate gear before you throw out a cast a few options for you to choose from.

Ok now lets dive in to some of the best and most popular spots to fish and what you might catch.

Lake Padden – a medium-sized lake with good shore access and a boat launch. No motorboats allowed on this lake, so it’s a nice peaceful place to spend the day fishing for trout, Kokanee, and bass.

Toad Lake – Roughly a 30-acre lake that also does not allow motorboats to use it. This lake is great for catching trout and Kokanee

Silver Lake – This is a mid-sized lake about 173 acres total. This lake is on the way up to Mount Baker and it is a great spot to catch lots of stocked hatchery trout. Because of the location, this lake’s waters are a little cooler so it makes for one of the best spots in the summer months. Look forward to catching lots of Rainbow trout and potentially some resident cutthroat trout. This lake is located in Silver Lake park which is under an hour’s drive from the city making it a nice little escape.

Terrell Lake – This lake is located a little west of Ferndale. It is stocked with Rainbow trout, cutthroat, and channel catfish. The lake has a boat launch on the south end with also a fishing pier and lots of bank fishing access. However, as the season goes on the weed growth can hinder bank fishing. There is also something to be aware of at this lake. It is within a wildlife area that is open to waterfowl hunting, so be cautious and check the hunting season.

Samish Lake – This is a large lake 15 minutes south of Bellingham along I-5. For being such a big lake there is not a lot of public shoreline access, so this is primarily a boat fishery. You can catch Kokanee, largemouth bass, perch, and cutthroat.

Lake Whatcom – This is a very large lake approximately 5,000 acres and it is stocked with plenty of Kokanee and the giant lake is also a favorite among bass fishermen. There are two boat launches, one is located at Bloedel Donavan Park and the other is at the south end of the lake on South Bay Dr.

Fazon Lake – This is a small kinda hidden lake 20 minutes outside of the city located on East Hemmi Road. This lake is stocked every fall with fingerling trout, rainbow trout, and channel catfish. Caution should be taken around October through January because the lake is also open for duck hunting season, so there is no fishing from floating devices during that time.

Diablo Lake – This reservoir is located on state route 20 and well over an hour drive from east Sedro-Woolley. This Lake is heavily stocked with more than 200,000 rainbow trout. Because the lake is so huge and very deep you are more likely to catch more from a boat or watercraft but there is plenty of underdeveloped bank access to fish from as well.

Baker Lake – This lake has become one of the better -known fishing spots in Whatcom County. It’s mainly due to the sockeye salmon that get trapped in the lake on their way up from the ocean. Other species you might catch are Bull trout, Kokanee, Mountain whitefish, and Rainbow trouts.

Ross Lake – This giant lake actually spans into part of Canada and is not heavily known for its fishing. The lake is not stocked so you can hope to catch a wild rainbow trout which at times is not always so easy. Ross Lake is worth a look if you’re interested in more of a getaway spot. There is the Lake Ross Resort here and lots of camping and boat camping available. For fishing, the lake opens later than most starting on July 1 and ends in October.

Nooksack River – If you look on a map you will see that the Nooksack River drains from the Cascade mountain range around Mount Baker and runs all the way to Bellingham Bay. The area available for fishing varies as there are several forks and a fairly complex set of rules that are to protect some of the river’s salmon. The best option is the North Fork because hatchery smolts are released near that area. Summertime the river can produce a good amount of pink salmon. Coho salmon runs in late September and into October.

Bellingham Bay -is the entryway to the San Juan Islands and the surrounding Salish Sea area. There are many points of entry to the bay, which are Squalicum Harbor, Fairhaven Harbor, Drayton Harbor, and Blaine Harbor. Saltwater species in the Bellingham Bay area are halibut, albacore tuna, and rockfish. There are several species of trout and salmon that migrate between fresh water and saltwater such as steelhead, chinook, and sockeye.

There are quite a few more lakes that didn’t get mentioned on this page, same with local favorite spots along the bay and river. Anyone that fishes regularly isn’t going to share their hot spot so the best advice and thing to do is just get out there and experience what fishing in Whatcom County is like for yourself. Here are some resources for you about fishing in this area.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife or WDFW main number: 360-902-2200 WDFW Website:

Fishing rule changes: 360-902-2500 email:

Boat launch information and directions:

Port of Bellingham website :

Scroll to Top