Boating and Fishing
Kayaking, canoeing, and motor boating are popular activities on Gorge, Diablo, and Ross Lakes, and Lake Chelan. Ramps and launches are located at Gorge Lake, Diablo Lake, Lake Chelan and the north end of Ross Lake at Hozomeen. There is no boat launch on the south end of Ross Lake.
The Skagit and Stehekin Rivers attract whitewater enthusiasts for rafting and kayaking. Find a local outfitters at the Guided Services page to help you plan your trip.
Portage Notice for Ross and Diablo Lake Boaters
There is no boat launch on the south end of Ross Lake. Boats must be portaged between Diablo and Ross Lakes, and only boats that can be carried by hand may be portaged. For boaters approaching from Diablo Lake: Please use the portage dock for all canoe and kayak portage activities (note: do not use the ferry dock). The portage is 1.2 miles over a gravel road, with an elevation gain of 525 feet, elevation loss of 100 feet. Ross Lake Resort also offers portage service, although it is not possible to portage larger power boats, or any other boat that can not be carried, between Diablo Lake and Ross Lake. A 2010 rockslide eliminated the old road access, and the new road segment could not be constructed down to lake level, so boaters must carry their boats and all gear to the portage vehicle.
The Ross Dam Trail (milepost 134 off State Route 20) could also be used as a portage route to Ross Lake if need be, although keep in mind that this is a rocky, switchbacking trail that descends one mile and 900 feet to reach the lake.
The Skagit River, one of Washington's major watersheds, is home to seven species of anadromous fish (five salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout) and freshwater trout and char. At Ross, Diablo and Gorge Lakes you may fish for native naturally occuring rainbow trout.
Fishing anywhere in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex is subject to all WA State fishing regulations and requires a valid Washington State fishing license. Fishing seasons vary by water body. Fishing licenses are not sold at any ranger station, and you must obtain a license before visiting. Visit Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife for information on Washington state fishing licenses.
Last updated: January 25, 2018