Vancouver and the rest of the Southwest Washington region experience pristine summer weather hovering around the low ’80s. It’s time like these that make for excellent summer day fishing trips, a great way to get outdoors with the whole family. Sunfish (aka panfish) are relatively easy to catch and somewhat abundant in certain Vancouver-area bodies of water. Rig up a few rods for the kids with a simple hook, split shot and bobber combo, buy (or dig for) some earthworms and head off to these spots for some fun summer fishing action.
Connected to the larger Lacamas Lake, Round offers excellent bank access and is near Camas, Washington, just east of Vancouver. Certain small boats are allowed on the lake, but in general this is a bank fishing affair. Hatchery rainbow trout are planted here, but the panfish action can be red hot at times! Earthworms work nicely, as well at mealworms (yellow/white grub-like creature, available at larger tackle stores). Follow Washington fish limits, and don’t take more than you need! A walking trail is available all around the shore of the lake, along with one dock on the far side. Lacamas Lake (nearby) has good crappie fishing, but it is more commonly frequented by boaters than Round.
Klineline/Salmon Creek Park
Located right near the I-5/I-205 merger in Salmon Creek, Klineline is a very, very busy place on summer weekends and afternoons. The park has several ponds on it, but most of the fishing and swimming activity takes place on the largest pond, Klineline. Concrete “docks” provide easy access to the water, as does the accessible shoreline. Like Round, Rainbow trout are planted here in large numbers and are one of the main fish sought after. However, Klineline does have a lot of bluegill, offering fun action for children and adults alike. Keep in mind that Klineline is a relatively small pond compared to most other lakes in the area, so try not to keep too many sunfish. They can be easy to spot, especially in late May through June as they spawn on gravel beds near the shore.
Lake River/Vancouver Lake
Lake River is a canal/slough that connect Vancouver Lake to the Columbia River, from the north side of Vancouver Lake. Bank access is absolutely horrible and extremely limited, however there are two good spots open to the public: Ridgefield and Felida. Moorage. The Felida Moorage is closest to Vancouver, and may be accessed through NW 122nd. Ridgefield is a small town northwest of Vancouver and signs in town will point visitors to the Ridgefield boat launch, with docks that may be fished from at the time this writing. Vancouver Lake is best accessed by boat (although it is very shallow, so be careful) yet there is some bank access in the public park on the Lake’s west side, and off of LaFrambois Road. Both bodies of water are absolutely loaded with many different species of fish, including bullhead catfish, pikeminnow, carp, trout, channel catfish, crappie, some bass and sturgeon, and lots of yellow perch and bluegill. Earthworms, cast out from the shore or dock are a favorite, but other baits works as well. The Ridgefield boat launch gets quite crowded during peak summer hours, but generally offers better fishing (in my opinion) than the Felida Moorage. Both area charge a small fee to park, and the Felida spot also charges a fee to fish or launch a boat.
Don’t forget to get a fishing license (in general, children do not need one but others do, check with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife). Get out there, catch some sunfish and have fun!