Chill out on a winter fishing trip at Lake Chelan

Reeling it in Angler West

Ready to reel in an exciting winter fishing trip? Head for Lake Chelan State Park. Still shot photo from video by Angler West TV.

Jan. 31, 2019

Mention taking a fishing vacation at Lake Chelan State Park and many folks will presume you mean spring, when trout run thick, or a lazy summer afternoon casting from a sun-warmed shore.

But winter?

Bundle up and hook up the boat trailer — the cold is not the only thing biting right now at Lake Chelan!

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Mackinaw by Angler West

Magnificent mackinaw! Less crowds, beautiful views and the potential for a good catch are the hallmarks of a Lake Chelan winter fishing trip. Still shot photo from a video by Angler West TV.

Fishing in winter is rewarding on a number of levels. Cold temperatures make for less competition at the boat launch and more elbow room on the water. Add in Chelan’s spectacular backdrop of snow-powdered peaks and pines and a good catch, and you’ve got the makings of a great winter break.  And the park’s boat launch is plowed during winter!

“At Chelan, you will most likely need a boat as the lake levels are down and the fish tend to stick to deeper waters in winter,” says Ranger Andrew Southard.

Kokanee, a non-migrating form of sockeye salmon, and lake trout, sometimes known as mackinaw, are the primary species you are likely to hook at this time of year at Chelan. But you may run into some cutthroat while you are trolling as well, Southard says.

As always, when fishing in Washington, you will need to have the proper permits from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Winter Fishing at Chelan Boat launch

Neat as you please, so you can drop your boat in with ease! The boat launch and parking will be plowed and clear of snow this year at Lake Chelan State Park.

This winter marks the first year that Lake Chelan State Park is open all year long! The park has plenty of sites available in the off season. So why not bring the RV and camp where you fish?

And how’s this for service? If you make a reservation and bring your camper or RV, park staff will plow a full hookup site for you. However, water is not available at these sites during the winter. But the sites do have electricity, and park staff will bring you water if you need it. A few tent sites also are available.

Learn More


Want some inspiration and few tips from Washington’s fishing pros? Check out this video by the fishing gurus at Woodland's Angler West TV for the scoop on bringing in the catch this winter at Lake Chelan.

❄ Need a fresh copy of the latest fishing regulations? Click here!

❄ Find more great fishing in Washington with WDFW’s handy Fish Washington tools online!

Find even more great fishing tips and recreational opportunities on the WDFW’s Weekender Report

❄ Boating safe means boating prepared! Click here to make sure your winter boating safety gear — and knowledge — are up to date!