Trail Guide
Lakes, Rivers

Essential Gear

Find hiking, camping, and general backcountry supplies in our Essential Gear section. Click on Shop
Tools and Resources

SNOW REPORT: View listings of Washington State's top areas for Ski / Snowboarding

FOREST SERVICE: Washington State National Parks and Forests and Phone Numbers for Washington State Forest Service and National Parks

INTRODUCTION: Seattle Recreation and the North Cascades

in the North Cascades and Surrounding Areas

Fishing the North (Central) Cascades

Shop pontoon boats for fly-fishing
Located in the Cascade foothills, Granite Falls, WA is the last town fishermen and wilderness adventurers hit before making their way along the Mountain Loop Highway, and into the Cascade Mountains. This area is said to offer some of the most incredible year-round fly-fishing in the northwest. We get this report from Don Smith at Don Smith provides access to many private lakes for fishing, as well as provides guided tours. Look for his store, "The Fly Smith" located in downtown Granite Falls. Here you can be outfitted with all the necessary gear for catching the fish this area is known for: Trout, steelhead, salmon, dolly varden, searun cutthroat and even bass.

The Fly Smith can outfit you with everything from Waders, pontoon boats, fly rods, lines and of course flies.

Fishing the (Far) North Cascades

Fly Fishing at Sun Mountain Lodge
Skagit River, Sauk River, Cascade River Report
Photos: Skagit and Sauk River Steelhead

There are many streams, rivers, and lakes in the North Cascades that offer a variety of fishing -- depending on the time of the year. Lowland lakes and rivers are your best bet during the late fall through spring months. Into summer and early fall, after the snow melt, more lakes and rivers become available to fishing .

Please click here for information on obtaining a fishing license from the National Park Service, as well as regulations that specify the seasons and catch limits, as well as the types of bait you can use.

Alpine Lakes

Ross Lake - In general, high isolated mountain lakes aren't good fishing spots, as they're cut off from migration. Most fishing spots are found in lowland lakes and rivers, however Ross Lake -- at 1600 feet in elevation on nearby Highway 20 in the North Cascades -- is a large mountain lake with great fishing, and a handful of nearby hiking trails as well as a large number of campgrounds.

Click here to view a map of Ross Lake.

(Ross Lake Resort was featured in National Geographic's 2005 Great Lodges of the Great Parks.)

Baker Lake - Information coming soon...

Gorge Lake - Information coming soon...

Diablo Lake - Information coming soon...


Cascade River - (Winter-run steelhead / spring-run kings) - Take Hwy 530 north out of Darrington, and go all the way to Marlbemount. Once in Marblemount, take a right on Rockport / Cascade River Road. This takes you over a bridge that crosses the Cascade River. The river is open for fishing from the bridge all the way down to the mouth. Our source calls this "Raspberry Hole", and it's located by the salmon / steelhead hatchery.

Skagit River - Known for trout, salmon and steelhead, the Skagit River is the second largest river in Washington State, behind the Columbia. Steelhead fishing is reported to be best between the months of February and April.

Sauk River - Information coming soon...

Creeks - Information coming soon...

Find a Hike in the North Cascades

Primitive Camping in the North Cascades
Hikes for Children - The Boulder River Trail
Highway 20 Hiking
Mountain Loop Highway Hiking
Mt Baker Highway Hiking
Highway 2 Hiking attempts to list hiking trails as we either trek them ourselves, have them recommended by friends or other readers, or read about them through other resources, such as books, news articles, and websites.

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