Lake Union is nestled in the heart of Seattle, Washington, just north of downtown. Rimmed by houseboats, restaurants and wetlands, the lake is alive with kayaks, sailboats, motorboats and seaplanes in spring, summer and fall. Boat locks connect Lake Union with Puget Sound, and Lake Washington is accessible through the Montlake Cut. Several species of fish thrive in the freshwater of the lake, and salmon join the boat traffic in Ballard Locks, seeking spawning ground.
Warm-water species are the primary fish caught in the waters of Lake Union, but salmon, sturgeon and occasionally a small shark also find their way onto fishermen's lures. Common catches include small mouth bass, bluegills, perch, bullheads, whitefish, bigmouth bass, crappie and trout. Anglers are cautioned not to eat the northern pikeminnow because of high contamination levels of toxins in this species.
Fishing by Boat
There are no motorized boat launches on Lake Union, but several places to launch a kayak. Kayaks can be rented from outfitters around the lake, including the Northwest Outdoor Center, Aqua Verde Kayak Club and the Moss Bay Rowing Club. The Northwest Outdoor Center rents wetsuits and sit-on-top kayaks and also sells the Torque by Ocean Kayaks, a sit-on-top with electric motor that cruises at trolling speed for up to five hours. The University of Washington's Waterfront Activity Center also rents canoes and rowboats to the public near the Montlake Cut that connects Lake Washington and Lake Union.
Where to Fish
While houseboat owners can cast a line right off their back deck, it is requested that the public keep a respectful distance from houseboats while on the water. Fishing under the bridges that cross the lake has been successful for anglers both on water and by land. While fishing by boat, you can get away from motorized traffic and seaplanes by entering the shallower waters in and around the arboretum. If approaching by foot, the only public fishing pier is the Lake Union Walkway, located at North Fairview Avenue and East Galer Street.