Five Emerald City lakes rife with Trout & bass

Washington fishing map feature


  • View Map SEATTLE, Wash. If the price of gas and traffic is keeping you from venturing out of Seattle for your Trout fishing, no worries The north end of town has plenty to offer.

    Five lakes, all along or just off the Aurora Avenue corridor, dot the landscape from Woodland Park up to the King-Snohomish county line. All offer plenty of Trout action and all are open year-round.

    Here's a rundown on where they are and what they offer:

    Green Lake

    This can be your 255 acres of bank-fishing paradise. There are ample opportunities to step off the walking path and fish from shore.


    Aidan Boyle, 9, shows off a 2-pound Trout he caught off the southwest shore of Green Lake this spring.

    You can also use several docks located around Green Lake.

    In addition to the generous Trout plantings prior to opening day, Green Lake was planted with 4,000 surplus triploid Trout in mid-May, so this urban lake is capable of kicking out fish that you'll measure in pounds, not inches.

    Expect to catch a good stringer from the bank, using floating baits tipped with Salmon eggs, or worms plunked off the bottom.

    For boaters and float tubers, troll small lures like Dick Nites, Triple Teasers, and F3, F4 and F5 FlatFish or KwikFish in similar sizes. Casting small Rooster Tails and Kastmasters will also induce strikes.

    Green Lake also contains tiger musky, but catching one with the 36-inch minimum size could prove very difficult.

    If you do, don't hesitate to take photos and let us know!

    Haller Lake

    Because of its size, Haller is perfect for a fioat tube or a cartopper.

    At 15 acres, it's less susceptible to high winds and choppy waves because it's surrounded by houses and numerous trees.

    There's always a piece of fiat water no matter which way the wind is blowing.

    Fly FIshermen take heed: It's a great lake to practice on. Haller was planted in March with 1,400 rainbows, and it has continued to produce.

    Access is limited at this tiny lake, however. There's an access point on Meridian Avenue North, and another on North 125th Street, with the later being the better of the two for bank anglers.

    I've seen several FIshermen with nice stringers caught with Power Bait-and-worm and marshmallow-and-worm combos FIshed 3 or 4 feet off the bottom.

    I prefer to FIsh Haller by s-l-o-w-l-y trolling an F4 FlatFish about 50 feet behind my fioat tube.

    I use 4-pound-test line, an ultralight rod, no weight and no swivel.

    This produces enough action on the lure to keep it 1 or 2 feet under the surface, which is ideal action. If you FIsh it properly, the FlatFish (or Kwikfish) should produce a slight pulsating throb to your rod tip.

    Every color seems to get strikes, I prefer greens, olives and yellows.

    On recent outings in the evenings, I've had the place virtually to myself, a nice bonus when you're FIshing in a city of 572,600.

    Bitter Lake

    This 12-acre lake is sandwiched between Aurora and Greenwood avenues and is seldom fished.

    The south end is the only access point, and the many baseball and softball games during the spring and summer months may turn anglers away.

    Bitter was planted with 1,200 catchables this year and should continue to produce into the summer months.

    Access the lake from Aurora by turning west onto North 130th Street until you get to Linden Avenue North. Take a right. The lake will be on your left.

    Echo Lake

    No, this is not the one in Snohomish County near Maltby. Referred to as Echo on "99," it is located just east of Aurora, in Shoreline.

    From Aurora, travel east on North 200th Street and turn right onto Ashworth Avenue. The lake and the limited parking will be on your right.

    At only 12 acres, you can easily cover Echo thoroughly from a pontoon boat or fioat tube.

    Standard Trout offerings should get you Trout in the 8- to 10-inch range, but, as always, hold on tight for holdovers pushing 14 inches or more.

    At a glance
    What: Seattle-area Trout and bass lakes.


    Where: Green, Bitter, Haller, Echo and Ballinger lakes.

    Why: Spend more time on the water catching Fish and less time Filling up and traveling.

    How: For Trout, dunk the standard fioat-and-bait rigs right off shore, or troll around with small banana-type plugs or spinners. For bass, work small cranks, plastic worms and spinnerbaits around cover.

    Info/gear: Try Outdoor Emporium (206-624-6550) for tackle and info, and Fred Meyer's along Aurora or on N. 85th just west of Greenwood for gear.


    Lake Ballinger

    Located just north of the King-Snohomish county line, 104-acre Lake Ballinger has much to offer.

    Decent plants of Trout have kept the lake viable year-round, and local bass fishermen have pulled nice largemouth out in recent years.

    If you're trolling, use Pop Geer, Wedding Rings tipped with worms and even small plugs like Rapalas and FlatFish to entice Trout pushing 12 inches, and holdovers into the teens.

    If you're still fishing with a scented marshmallow and worm and/or Salmon egg combos off the bottom, you'll have a recipe for success.

    If it's bobber fishing you like, fish the same worms and eggs you would use for bottomfishing, but remove the buoyant marshmallows. Use a 3 to 4-foot leader and standard baits when fishing from the pier for good, consistent Trout yields as well.

    On the bass front, many fishy-looking areas around Ballinger deserve a glance.

    On the north end, an extensive lily pad forest, split by an in-fiowing creek, should hold largemouth (watch out for errant golf balls).

    The numerous private docks that line the west shoreline offer plenty of cover and should warrant a cast or two.

    On the south shore, several downed trees and numerous submerged logs look rather daunting and snaggy, but may offer the necessary cover for large fish. The same can be said of the island in the center of Ballinger. It's been known to kick out its share of largemouth as well.

    Pack small crankbaits, rubber worms and small spinnerbaits in your tacklebox when you target Ballinger's bass.

    As the summer progresses and water temperatures increase, fish worms for perch along the east shore near the golf course.



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