Lake Whatcom

Main Species: Smallmouth bass, Kokanee, Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat trout
Sub Species: Largemouth bass, Perch, Sunfish.
Size: Approx. 5,000 acres.
Public Access: Yes.
Boat Launch: Yes.  Dock, multiple paved launches.
Bathrooms: Yes.
Opening Date: Usually the 4th Saturday in April, but can vary. Check the current regulations.
Closing date: October 31st.

lake whatcom
lake whatcom

Located in the middle of Bellingham Whatcom County, LakeWhatcom supplies drinking water for the city of Bellingham. The lake is full of Smallmouth bass and fishing can be good for Rainbow trout, Kokanee and Perch as well.  It’s not unusual to catch a Cutthroat trout while fishing but they must be released unharmed per the regulations on the lake. Lake Whatcom is considered one of the finest bass fishing lakes in Bellingham and often ranks up there with other great bass fishing lakes in Washington State.

There are public launches on the west and east ends of the lake. The launch at the city park (Bloedel Donovan) in Bellingham at the west end of Lake Whatcom has multiple paved ramps, a dock and bathrooms. This is a busy park in the summertime for swimmers and water sports so expect lots of boats and people. There is good opportunity for smallmouth bass fishing along the southern edge of the lake from Bloedel Donovan. It should be noted that there are largemouth bass in the lake as well but they are not as plentiful as the smallies. Fish in the 4+ pound range can be found without an extraordinary amount of effort.

Grubs in dark colors like black, motor oil, greens fished on jig heads work especially well in the springtime. Cast these lures near structure or around pilings, sunken logs, etc. Drop shot worm rigs and texas rigged plastics work well also. Other popular lures include spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

All Cutthroat must be released. Closed waters between Electric St. bridge and outlet. Due to high levels of mercury the department of health advises you to not eat any Smallmouth bass and limit your consumption of Yellow Perch to to one meal per week. Read the special rules and advisories at Check the current WDFW fishing regulations for closures, warnings, and special rules.

If you have fished this lake and have some information to add please email us at