The Priest Lake area offers a wide variety of choices to the angler. Fishing opportunities include trophy-sized Mackinaw in Priest Lake, cutthroat fishing in the nearby alpine lakes, brook trout angling in the numerous streams in the Priest basin, catch-and-release fishing for westslope cutthroat in Upper Priest Lake and great ice-fishing on Cavanaugh Bay.
Mackinaw (lake trout) is the predominate species in Priest Lake and trophy-sized fish are not uncommon. The Idaho state record for Mackinaw (57 1/2 pounds) was caught at Priest Lake in 1971. Mackinaw fishing methods include downriggers, leaded line, wire line and jigging - all designed to present lures near the bottom especially during the summer and winter months. For the inexperienced Mackinaw angler or the trophy fish hunter, it is recommended that a fishing guide be hired. There are a number of highly-recommended and very experienced guide services listed under Recreation Guide & Services in our Business Directory. Priest Lake is open year-round to fishing with a harvest limit of six lake trout per day.
Fishing in Upper Priest Lake and Upper Priest River is restricted to catch-and-release, no bait, and single, barbless hooks. These restrictions are necessary to protect the bull trout which has been declared "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act and to assist in the recovery of the native westslope cutthroat population.
Stream fishing in the numerous creeks in the area is also a popular pastime. The predominant species in most of the creeks is brook trout, although you may hook an occasional cutthroat or rainbow trout.
Priest River, downstream from the Priest Lake outlet dam, is open all year for fishing.
Various alpine lakes nestled in the Selkirks on the east side of Priest Lake are stocked with trout. These include the following lakes: Hunt, Standard and Two Mouth. These secluded lakes offer a great opportunity to hike scenic trails, topped off with a backcountry fishing experience.
On the west side, Petit Lake is a fly fisherman's delight. Muskegon Lake, located just off USFS Road 1013 north of Granite Pass also offers good fishing. Float tube fishing is recommended for both lakes - and remember Washington state fishing regulations apply as both of these lakes are located in that state.
You may also join the many Priest Lake area residents who fish for bass in Chase Lake. It is located 1-1/2 miles south of Coolin, off East River Road. The Chase Lake season is open from July 1 - December 31 for bass harvest and gasoline-powered motors are prohibited on the lake.