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 the water.

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 applicable.

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
Offut Lake Resort