Offut Lake was the first lake I ever fished when I moved
to Washington State. I was a recent transplant from
Atlanta and having survived my first northwest winter,
I was ready for any outdoor activities. Mostly, I was
eager to fish. All winter long I've been reading a book
entitled Fishing in Washington. By the time I got through
this fishing bible, I had the worst case of fishing
fever. Most anglers experience this phenomenon called
the fishing fever. The symptoms are quite easy to spot.
You spend hours looking at fishing catalogs, plan entire
weekends around fishing shows, organize your tackle
more than once, hold - or more accurately caress your
fishing rods while you endless wind your reel, and other
types of "interesting" behavior.
Back to Offut Lake. It was already April and I felt
a little more settled in my new neighborhood in Olympia.
So at that time I was looking for a small lake that
offered easy access and provided boat rentals. I discovered
Offut Lake from online sources and from reading the
Fishing in Washington book. I made a quick phone call
to Offut Lake Resort to confirm about the boat rentals
and off I went with bass gear in tow.
I met Laura, one of the proprietors of the resort,
at the resort's dock and promptly rented a small aluminum
boat powered by a trolling motor. After introductions
and small talk, Laura offered some advice about the
bass potentials. "It's still too early in the
season for the bass to be active in this lake,"
she said. I smiled and typical of a stubborn frenzied
angler that I was at that time ignored her suggestions
and lurched my way away from the docks. I started
my way pounding the shores for any signs of bass life.
An hour later, without a bite nor any sight of bass,
I became frustrated and was hearing in my head the
words, "I told you so!" For about 10 minutes
I just sat and floated watching other small fishing
boats moving about. I learned later that they were
"trolling". That was definitely not in my
fishing vocabulary - yet.
I felt defeated and certainly the fishing fever was
slowly coming down to normal temperatures. I coaxed
myself to try something else. I rooted around my tackle
bag to see what else I could possible throw into the
water. I found a jar of chartreuse Powerbait and a
small ready made slip-sinker rig by Berkley that I
purchased purely out of impulse and curiosity at a
Fred Meyer store. I thought to myself, "might
as well try."
I anchored near the tree line directly opposite from
the resort and proceeded to rig one of my small spinning
rods. A few minor problems arose however. Mainly,
I didn't know exactly how the slip-sinker rig worked.
This was an all new ball game but I was determined.
I tied it on anyway and placed a gob of Powerbait
on the small treble hook. At that instance, another
milestone in my fishing life occurred - first time
ever that I've used Powerbait. And promptly, not more
than a few seconds that I felt my sinker hit the bottom
of the lake that I was introduced to Washington's
favorite gamefish - Rainbow Trout. Eureka! I felt
like I just found gold.
Since then, Offut Lake has become one of my favorites.
For me, the lake's attraction is its smaller size,
fishability, proximity, and the fact that it isn't
over developed. Fishing here can feel as though you're
fishing a lake deep in the northwoods. If you want
results while you're fishing Offut Lake, then you
best get to know Laura and Becky of Offut Lake Resort.
These two friendly gals have often been my first stop
before I fish to seek information. They can tell you
the lake's condition, specific fishing holes, techniques
to use, and what people are catching. They are the
"unofficial" stewards of this lake and always
the best of hosts. For convenience, you will also
find tackle and food at their store. Accessible hot
coffee and snacks sure makes things nicer when it's
cold and blustery out. Make sure you check out their
collection of fishing photos - evidence that big fish
is common at this lake.
The lake may be accessed in two different ways. If
you have a boat, the WDFW boat launch is on the north
side of the lake via Waldrick Road. Look for the brown
Public Fishing sign as you drive along this road.
If you are a bank/shore angler, Offut Lake Resort
provides a fishing dock for a nominal fee. Make note
that the dock sits on one of the deeper spots on the
lake and have provided a lot of success for many shore
bound anglers. This dock is known to kick out some
of the "big-uns." Boats may also be rented
from the resort and you have a choice between electric
powered boats or rowboats.
From early spring to early summer flat line trolling
for trout seems to work well. Small gang trolls/pop-gear
with Wedding Rings, Rooster Tails, Spinners and small
Rapalas work well. Make sure you ask the Laura and
Becky what hottest lures are. Slowly troll the tree
line from the mouth of the boat ramp to the north
east corner of the lake. I've observed some insect
hatches occurring around midday in the srping time
and have provided me with the fastest action for trout.
Basically, if you are at the right place at the right
time, the bite as fast as you can drop your line in
During the early summer, flat line trolling is still
effective as well as still-fishing for trout. Stocked
trout are congregated by the resort, the tree line,
and mouth of the boat ramp. Still fishing with Powerbait
and or worms provide lethal combinations for easy
catch limits. I found that a few bass might be picked
up along the tree line edge and the weed beds on the
east side of the lake using soft plastic jerk baits.
My success with the bass in Offut Lake has been limited
to the use of finesse techniques.
Trout fishing is fair during the warmer summer months.
There is an abundance of Yellow Perch and some Bluegill
which provide constant fishing action. Still-fishing
the deeper areas of the lake, such as a few yards
in front of the resort, the tree line and the northeast
corner of the lake should produce a few catches. Trolling
is still possible however you should watch out for
the prolific weed growth. Fall fishing can be great
and the same techniques mentioned above are still
From Olympia, go south on Capitol Blvd. (Old 99)
8 mi (becomes Olympia-Tenino Hwy) to Waldrick Rd.,
go left (east) 1.2 mi to Walona St. SE; take right
and go a short way to end of street, and take left
into parking area.
Credits: Lake photo by Offut Lake Resort