Bellingham Fishing Access

Bellingham lake rainbow trout

The Bellingham area has many fishing opportunities, both in the city limits and close by. From lakes such as Padden, Whatcom, Toad, and the Chuckanut Mt. lakes, to Whatcom Creek and the lower Nooksack River, to the San Juan Islands, fishing in Bellingham can be accessed easily.

Several of the lakes in Bellingham are stocked yearly with catchable size rainbow trout. Lake Padden is a popular lake on opening day, the first Saturday in April, and is usually overrun with anglers looking to catch a few trout for the grill. Whatcom Creek offers fall runs of salmon, and is usually crowded with anglers. For bass anglers in Bellingham, Lake Whatcom offers excellent smallmouth bass fishing.

Bellingham Bay offers a gateway to the San Juan islands, and opportunities for saltwater salmon fishing, bottomfish, crabbing, and shrimping. There are harbors in downtown Bellingham at Squalicum Harbor, and in Fairhaven at Fairhaven Harbor.

Bellingham rivers

Whatcom Creek

Bellingham lakes

Fragrance Lake
Lake Padden
Pine and Cedar Lakes
Lake Samish
Squalicum Lake
Toad Lake
Lake Whatcom

Marine Area 7

San Juan Islands

More Whatcom County lakes and rivers >>

While fishing in Bellingham can be good, it is the areas nearby that offer excellent year round angling opportunities. Near Bellingham, there are great fishing opportunities for salmon, steelhead, trout and more in freshwater lakes, rivers, and the saltwater areas of the San Juan Islands. In Whatcom County itself, the Nooksack River offers good opportunity for salmon and steelhead fishing in the fall and into the winter. Originating high up near Mt. Baker, the Nooksack rivers flows through the heart of Whatcom County to dump into Bellingham Bay. Public access can be found along all branches of the Nooksack river, and fishing can be good.

Take a short drive south to Skagit County and fish the Skagit River for Salmon, Steelhead, Bull trout, and more. The Skagit River, originating in Canada and flowing down through Mt. Vernon and into the bay, has great runs of salmon and steelhead with huge runs of pink salmon every other year. Along with the main Skagit River, several of the tributaries like the Sauk river and Cascade river offer great fishing as well.

Bellingham is a short drive from British Columbia, Canada as well. Numerous salmon, steelhead, trout, and saltwater fishing opportunities abound in Canada. An out of state license is required, and can be purchased online. For more information on fishing in Canada, try searching the Fish Whatcom forum for reports and information.


Disclaimer: The information presented on this page and the subsequent lakes and rivers pages of is intended as informational only and is not guaranteed in any way. The information is deemed accurate, but not guaranteed. Anyone choosing to use the following information is urged to read the rules and regulations laid forth by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife before fishing to avoid a potential ticket. works to keep the information presented up to date and accurate, however fishing rules and regulations are subject to change at any time so does not guarantee the information in any way.

8 thoughts on “Bellingham Fishing Access”
  1. Hello,
    My family will be visiting Bellingham mid-May 2017. My daughter plans to move there and after a year or so, attend WWU to finish her schooling. My son recently joined the USAF, so this is probably our last family vacation. My son (and his Dad) love fishing…especially bass fishing.

    Are there any guide services or boat and fishing gear rentals available in the Bellingham area?
    Please help me make our last family vacation a special one, and give my son the joy of fishing in your great state!

    Thank you,
    Lisa Adams
    Flagstaff, AZ

  2. Thank you for your speedy reply! There are no WWU students or alumni in the family yet. Could you please provide a boat rental link near Lake Whatcom that is for the general public?

    Thank you!

  3. Hi – is there anywhere in Bellingham to rent fishing equipment? We’ll be traveling there by plane this summer and my son would really like to do some fishing but we don’t want to lug fishing gear on the plane. Thank you!

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