4 of the Best Spots to Go Fishing in the San Juan Islands

Tucker House FishFishing in the San Juan Islands is an exciting adventure! There are both saltwater and freshwater fishing opportunities throughout the islands and both boating and shore fishing options in the San Juan Islands. There are many boat charters for fishing in the San Juan Islands, as well as shops that rent and sell fishing equipment. All you have to bring is yourself! The type of fish that you might catch in the San Juan Islands varies throughout the seasons. Most species are available for catch from July through November, though sport fishing is available all year round.

Some of the main catches include salmon, rock cod, ling cod, halibut, red snapper, steelhead, shark, and sturgeon. During your stay at Tucker House Inn, you can pick up a fishing license at Ace Hardware or King’s Marine in downtown Friday Harbor for your fishing escapades. Here is what you need to know about the best spots to go fishing in the San Juan Islands!

Saltwater Fishing in the San Juan Islands


If you’re looking for some guidance during your saltwater fishing expeditions in the San Juan Islands, then consider getting a fishing charter. Charters are available in Eastsound on Orcas Island for salmon, halibut, lingcod, and whale watching. You can choose between deep sea fishing and day cruises to Vancouver and the Canadian Gulf Islands and can even leave from San Juan Island if you desire. You can also add crabbing to your adventure!

Strait of Juan de Fuca

Just south of the San Juan Islands lies the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Salmon fishing in the San Juan Islands is quite popular, but halibut are the fish to catch here, particularly in late spring. There is an opportunity to catch large “flatties” throughout the summer as well as chase those larger fish you might be missing. Jigging is a popular method of catching halibut as well as using large siwash hooks to hold larger hard-mouthed fish. With such a large space, there are several locations best for fishing. These include Neah Bay, Sekiu, Lyre River, Port Angeles, and Hein Bank.

Freshwater Fishing in the San Juan Islands

Sportsman’s Lake

Just three-and-a-half miles northwest of Friday Harbor lies Sportsman’s Lake, host to some of the best freshwater fishing in the San Juan Islands. This lake is open to fishing year-round and includes species such as largemouth bass, yellow perch, and pumpkinseed sunfish. The lake and surrounding wildlife habitat sit on two-and-a-half acres of protected land. There is a public fishing ramp that serves as the access point. This lake is also used for the Friday Harbor Sailing Club.

Moran State Park

Some ideal fishing in the San Juan Islands can be found within Moran State Park. This park on Orcas Island features five different freshwater lakes that are all available for fishing. These include Cascade Lake, two Twin Lakes, Mountain Lake, and Summit Lake. Cascade Lake is one of the more popular freshwater fishing locations and is stocked annually by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. You can either bring a boat or rent a paddleboat or rowboat from the snack bar at Cascade Lake if you want to do your fishing from on top of the water. These lakes in Moran State Park are open to fishing from the fourth Saturday in April to October 31st each year!

San Juan Island Fishing Report

When planning to go fishing in the San Juan Islands, be sure to check the fishing report ahead of time. Here, you can garner some valuable insight about places and times to go and where the fish you are looking for can be found. Get your facts from the knowledgeable fisherpeople in the area! We recommend North Shore Fishing Charters, Outer Island Expeditions, and North Shore Charters for local fishing charters if you want more of a hands-on professional experience! 

Stay at Tucker House Inn

Friday Harbor’s Tucker House Inn is a great base camp for your fishing expeditions. You can enjoy some delicious seafood, in fact, at the on-site restaurant! You will also receive comfortable accommodations. Sink down into your heavenly bed at the end of a long excursion fishing in the San Juan Islands. Then, wake up to a hearty breakfast to get your day started off right! For more outdoor activities in the San Juan Islands, download our free vacation guide.


Photo Credits: North Shore Charters Fishing