With the forecast showing sunny days in the 80’s that we hope will never end, nearly everyone in and around Republic is thinking the same thing… when can I get to the lake? And if you’re visiting Republic, you should be pondering the same thing too.
Republic is fortunate to be surrounded by thick, healthy forests, wild mountains and an abundance of pristine lakes nestled throughout. Here are our top 9 favorite places to swim, fish and just generally relax, lakeside:
Curlew Lake is perhaps the most well-known of our local lakes and certainly one of the largest. It is popular with fishermen and campers, as well as those just out for a kayak or boating adventure. Our recently installed Ferry County Rail Trail skirts the lake and takes you over the beautifully restored trestle bridge. Bring your bike or your walking shoes to take full advantage of this amazing area just 10 minutes outside Republic.
- Swan Lake is a great lake for swimming, hiking and camping and its camping spots are a generous size. Families love to spend their weekends at Swan Lake, nestled in the woods and surrounded by nature. Even if you don’t camp here, its most certainly worth the 30 minute drive down the San Poil River on Hwy 21 from Republic. Ferry, Fish and Long Lakes are just a short distance from here.
- Ferry Lake is a short drive from Swan Lake and a great place to do some secluded trout fishing.
- Fish Lake is a perfect spot to fly fish and a short hike from Long Lake.
- Long Lake is a unique body of water – only fly fishing is allowed and motorized boats are prohibited. Quiet, serene and tucked away in the Colville National Forest, you don’t want to miss Long Lake if you love to fly fish. And keep an ear out for the loons that call in the mornings and evenings.
- Lost Lake is an hour from Republic and technically located in Okanogan County. However, it, along with Bonaparte Lake close by, are favorite hangouts for locals. Many birders also visit this area to see terns and loons, among others. It was this author’s favorite place to go swimming as a kid. And don’t miss the big trees and trails – its truly a unique part of our area.
- Bonaparte Lake features an easily accessible and well-maintained campground, as well as a boat launch, a resort and hiking trails. Fishing is a popular pastime at Bonaparte Lake, as is kayaking and bird watching. With a restaurant on the lake at the Bonaparte Lake Resort, you won’t go hungry if you don’t get a catch that day.
- Trout Lake is also about an hour from Republic, but if you love to hike and camp near high mountain lakes, you can’t go wrong. Leaving from Republic and heading over Sherman Pass, you’ll find the Trout Lake turnoff on your left as you’re nearing the bottom, about 35 miles from Republic. A pretty drive up the mountain will bring you to this popular fishing lake and campground. From here, you can hike to our next favorite lake for some amazing views and pristine emerald water.
- Emerald Lake is only accessible on foot from Trout Lake, which makes it a pristine, mountain-fed lake just waiting for you to jump in! In fact, there’s a rock perfect for jumping off of at the far end of the lake. Bring a picnic and plenty of water as its a 2.5 mile hike in – up some steep terrain at first – but then it levels off for some beautiful views complete with wildflowers of multiple varieties. You can continue hiking the Hoodoo Canyon or turn back to Trout Lake and get your fishing in before dark.
Click here for a map of the lakes in the Trout Lake region
We’ll see you out there! Don’t forget the sunscreen.
Need a fishing license? Click here to find out where to buy one in our area.
Photo at top: Swan Lake, by Arista Hageman