Whatcom County Fishing

Anyone familiar with fishing Whatcom County? I'm new to the area and trying to improve my borderline casting, presentation,...I'm looking for anything in Whatcom, stream or lake, where I can catch some fish.
Also, any favorite fly shops in the area?
The flyshop I used to go to in Bellingham closed down two years ago.

GI Joes has a very knowledgable fly fisher at their back fishing desk. Can't remember his name at the moment.

Lake Squalicum is a very good fly fishing lake, stocked with triploid rainbows. Its down the Mount Baker Highway about 5 miles from Sunset Square. You also can fish the tribs to the forks of the Nooksack. I loved Canyon Creek.

Squalicum is starting to produce nicely but yet to catch one of the trips. Make sure to bring some emerger patterns, nymphs, and some dark colored caddis imitations, especially in the evening when the hatch is going on. If you get there around 4-5:00 p.m., bring some olive wooley buggers and troll in the middle then start hucking the emergers and dries when the hatch is on. The fish are very smart there and key on the presentation.

Joes does have a very knowledgeable fly fisher there. I believe his name is Josh. Look for the shorter guy with a bald head. Not to be confused with Josh on here, he still has some :D


dead in the water
It's that knowledge that makes you go bald, so I'm safe in that department.

Flytrooper, do you have access to any sort of a float tube or boat? Whatcom is short on shore-fishable lakes. The previously mentioned Squalicum is a perfect example of a good lake that you have to have some sort of watercraft to fish. There might be a spot or two on Padden that you could fish from shore for the stockers they dump in there for opening day. There are probably a few left this time of year.

As for moving water, Whatcom isn't blessed with a lot of great flyfishing streams/rivers in terms of catching fish. And the spots that are good either change year to year because of high rivers from snowmelt (the N fork of the Nooksack for example) or are closely guarded secrets. So the short answer is that you are going to have to get out there with a map and start exploring the little blue lines (or start buying the beers at Boundary).

Now if you are just looking for a spot to work on your casting into some moving water, there are plenty of gravel bars on the Nooksack that will work just fine for that. Probably the easiest to access is the one upstream of the Nugents Corner bridge. You can see it from the bridge as you drive over. It's a nice wide spot on a bend in the river. You may see some gear guys fishing there depending on the time of year, but I've never caught anything on the fly there. Good spot to practice casting though.
The fishing in moving water is pretty much a waste of time right now in Whatcom County. In later Summer and early Fall the salmon start running and that is when it can get pretty hot on the Nooksack.

I have caught decent fish out of every lake in the Bellingham area but NEVER from the shore. You really need a canoe or float tube or something like that.
Thanks for the heads up.

Anyone ever try Whatcom Creek, especially below Woburn street bridge? Looks like it's open June 1- Feb 28th.
I thought about fishing there but I don't forsee enough space to flip a fly through. From Woburn down is all city with very little to no access.


dead in the water
Whatcom creek is not a great place for either catching fish or practicing casting. It's a nice place to chill and is very pretty up in the "closed to fishing" area that is in the park.
That's too bad it looked fishy when I drove over the bridge.
I hate to break it to you but this is the land of water that looks fishy yet holds very little of them.

If you want the land of fishy water that actually holds incredible fish you will need a time machine around here.

Just look into lake fishing or wait until the Fall when salmon arrive and look for hatcheries on the maps. That would be a good start.
I spent 8 years in W. County, and fished extensively. Dont get discouraged at the reports you get, there is plenty of good fishing to be had there....you wont lay into trophy fish, but I have no problem with 8-12 inchers out of some of the more remote creeks.
Get out your Gazetter, and start taking some scouting missions. There are lots of creeks off of the Mt. Baker Highway, many involving driving some miles on dirt roads. Some hold fish, others not really. It takes some exploration.
If you PM me Ill give you a couple place to check out, and a couple lakes to try as well.

Buy a float tube asap. Its a must up there.
Two words: British Columbia. Fork out the $80 or so for a B.C. license, and you'll have lots of relatively close quality fishing waters. Some can be crowded, others not so, but there is much more opportunity up there. Oh yeah... get one of the new enhanced WA drivers licenses to ease hassles at the border. If you end up going up there a lot, you might also want to consider a Nexus pass, which gets you around most of the border waits.




dead in the water
To continue my post, these are the best pieces of advice for non-salmon fly fishing in Whatcom county:

  • get a float tube and learn to love lakes
  • get a 3wt and learn to love 6-9in wild trout in high tribs
  • learn the secrets of searun cutts
  • get a BC license
  • start buying IPA pints at Boundary for the right people

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
Boundary bay IPA is legal tender in Whatcom County. It is also a truth serum and much more effective than waterboarding. Not only does it make you speak but generally you'll tell the truth!
WFF get together at the boundary anyone?

Sox down 4-1,