Curlew Lake Fishing


Where to Fish at Curlew Lake

Grab your rod and reel and head to Curlew Lake for some of the best freshwater fishing in Washington State. Learn more about the lake’s rainbow trout, tiger muskie, largemouth bass, and yellow perch, and fishing tips for catching them. Refer to our Curlew Lake trout fishing map to find the best places to troll for trout.

Boy holding trout. Photo: Diane Sims
Young fisher displays trout. Photo: Diane Sims


Go fishing for rainbow trout at Curlew Lake! Trout can be found the length of Curlew lake, but are  often found in the shallow waters near Curlew Lake State Park and in the deeper waters off the shore of Black Beach Resort.  The lake receives yearly plants of rainbow trout, making fishing very enjoyable April through June, and again in late September, October, and November. Fish average 12 to 13 inches (and fit nicely in a large skillet). Night fishing with lights is permitted.  

Fishing tips: Many locals often fish for trout using slow-speed trolling, with weighted line and red, orange, or black lake fly lures baited with just enough chartreuse Powerbait to cover the hook.  Use our trout fishing map for best places to troll.

Red wooly bugger fly for lake trolling.
Red wooly bugger fly works well for lake trolling.

Tiger Muskie

Stocked in just seven of Washington’s lakes, catching a tiger muskie (a sterile cross between a muskellunge and northern pike) confers great bragging rights on anglers skilled and tenacious enough to catch one of these hungry predators.  

Though mature adult muskies average 34-48 inches and weigh in at more than 30 lbs, in 2014, angler David Hickman of Richland, WA, caught a 37 lb 14 oz  at Curlew Lake and set the 2014 state record. Debra Jolley’s muskie catch and release (pictured) measured 43 in.  On the same trip, her husband, Bob Hackiewicz, caught and released a 49.5 in., with a 24 in circumference. Note: To keep a muskie, the fish must be 50 in.

Fishing tips from angler Debra Jolley: 1.) Patience, they are the fish of 10,000 casts. 2.) Muskie will bite on just about anything moving, but have to be in the mood. 3.) This fish was caught near one of the islands, but we see them near structures submerged. 4.) If you do get lucky enough to hook a Muskie, keep the tension on and get them to the net or cradle ASAP! 5.) PLEASE be careful with them, put them back in to grow a bit for the next fisher person.

Debra Jolley's tiger muskie, catch and release, measured 43 in. 
Debra Jolley’s tiger muskie, catch and release, measured 43 in. Photo by Bob Hackiewicz.
"Sandy" Sandoval displays largemouth bass. Photo: Diane Sims
“Sandy” Sandoval displays largemouth bass. Photo: Diane Sims

Largemouth Bass

You’ll find largemouth bass the length of Curlew lake, at all depths, but more often  in shallow areas around logs, stumps, docks, coves, and grasses. Recommended bass fishing months are June through October, with June and July being the best. 

Bass fishing tips from seasoned fisherman “Sandy” Sandoval: “There are bass all over the lake, but I’ve had good luck by the cliffs near Fisherman’s Cove [Resort]; at the north end of the lake near the trestle; and south in Lake Roberta [accessible via Curlew Lake].  I use many types of bait, such as super minnows, and floating rapala that I cast out and twitch. Night crawlers are great in the morning at day break, when the water temperature is right. I also use a sinkhole method with a rubber fishing worm, with an O-ring wrapped around the middle of the worm, and a hook on the O-ring. This setup lets me use the same worm over and over and it works in deep or shallow water. If you’re new to bass fishing, make sure your line is coming off the top of the reel to avoid tangling the line.”

Yellow Perch

Reckoned by some to be a superior tasting fish than rainbow trout, the yellow perch is fun to catch and makes a sweet, tasty meal fried up over a campfire.

Perch range in size from four to fifteen inches, rarely exceed four pounds, and have small mouths. Once you catch one perch you’re going to catch lots more, which makes no-limit perch fishing a kid-friendly introduction to the sport of fishing.

Fishing tips: Local fishers recommend using a small hook baited with a small piece of worm. Remember, it doesn’t take a very big piece of worm! Drop your hook in 17 to 20 feet of water (unless the perch are biting in one foot of water), near docks and weedy areas, and keep your hook moving, until you find them.

Boys displaying prize-winning catch of yellow perch.
Boys displaying prize-winning catch of yellow perch.
Fisherman displaying one of a large catch of yellow perch.
Fisherman displaying one of a large catch of yellow perch. Photo: Lynn Malsam

Curlew Lake Trout Fishing Map

Use our fishing map to find the best areas of the lake to troll for trout. It also provides an overall view of the lake, its resorts, and the rail trail where it parallels the lake’s west side.

See the Washington State Dept. of Ecology’s map of Curlew Lake – Ferry County 1997 Survey Map for depth information.

Trout Fishing Map for Curlew Lake
Trout Fishing Map for Curlew Lake. Map is representative and not to scale. Refer to street map, before traveling.