Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout, Kokanee
East of Lake Crescent, southwest of Port Angeles
Take U.S.101 from Port Angeles and drive west for about 12 miles to the lake, which is on the south side (left) of the highway.
Lake Sutherland has a Department of Fish and Wildlife boat ramp and access area with rest rooms, located on the south side of the lake 1.5 miles off of the highway. Shadow Mountain General Store and RV Park is right across U.S.101 from the lake. Small stores and gas stations can be found along the highway, and all amenities are available in the town Port Angeles.
The lake is 370 acres. Lake Sutherland is located on the Olympic Peninsula about 17 miles west of Port Angeles, Washington. The lake is located just to the east of Lake Crescent. Lake Sutherland drains into Indian Creek, which is a tributary of the Elwha River.
Lake Sutherland is named for the Canadian fur trapper John Sutherland who, with John Everett, discovered the lake around 1865. Lake Sutherland and Indian Creek once sustained anadromous fish populations, but construction of the Elwha Dam in 1913 blocked access to the ocean, eliminating several salmon species from Indian Creek and landlocking others.
The lake contains a population of kokanee sockeye salmon, which spawn in Lake Sutherland and then migrate to Lake Aldwell, to use as their “ocean”. It is expected that upon removal of the Elwha Dam in 2012, that these sockeye will return to their anadromous lifestyle.
Lake Sutherland lies just outside of Olympic National Park and is private land. The lake is surrounded by houses, many of which are vacation homes inhabited only seasonally. Boating and fishing on the lake are very popular.
Rules and Regulations:
This body of water is open from the last Saturday in April through October 31st for resident cutthroat and rainbow trout and kokanee. A minimum size limit of 6 inches and maximum of 18 inches provides protection for rearing juvenile kokanee/sockeye, and any returning sockeye adults following removal of the Elwha River dams.
Fishing Lake Sutherland:
It doesn’t produce as many trophy class cutthroats as it used to, but Sutherland is still a place where you can expect to find brightly marked cutts along with hatchery rainbows stocked there for the catching (10,000 8-12 inchers a year). Anglers occasionally catch a cutthroat to 20 inches, but 8-12-inchers are much more common. The lake is stocked in April to provide early spring fishing.
As the trout tapers off in the summer, kokanee fishing improves, and during some years this 370 acre lake provides excellent kokanee fishing. Trolling with Wedding Ring Spinners or still fishing with white corn or maggots are a good way to catch them.
Lake Sutherland Cutthroat