San Juan County
San Juan Island
Every day Never Closes
Photo Credit: Bud Hardwick
Egg Lake offers a variety of experiences for both visitors and residents. Though located near a major road it provides a quieter and far more isolated experience than its larger neighbor to the east, Sportsman’s Lake. Surrounded by private farmland and marshes it is a virtual wildlife sanctuary. A small dock and gravel boat launch serve paddle craft and other small non-gas engine boats as well as providing limited lakeside access for fishing.
For years the lake has been stocked by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDF&W). Fishing enthusiasts frequent the lake in the springtime for trout and all summer for bass. Except for the dock, small boats are the only way to explore this lake. Those wishing to enjoy a secluded and sheltered paddle find Egg Lake to be exceptional for a short visit. Summer provides the most variety for exploring with each floating log or snag providing a platform for a small world of unusual plants, fanciful insects, and interesting aquatic life.
The property surrounding the lake is not only private but is fortified with a nearly impenetrable barrier of marsh and brush. This vegetation is a boon to the wildlife however, providing a rich and diverse habitat for a wide variety of species. Much of the vegetation is either deciduous or aquatic and responds to the seasonal fluctuations of warmth and sunlight with colorful flourishes throughout the year.
The bird life is the most evident wildlife. Migratory fowl enjoy the seclusion and protective buffer around Egg Lake. Morning and evening activity can be intense and during the spring breeding season the bird-calls can approach an unexpected volume. On rare occasions, a loon may take up brief occupancy at the lake, enjoying its isolation. Now rarely seen in its former habitat, their haunting cry is unmistakable as they announce their presence.
During the summer, osprey will frequently take up residence. Perched on a nearby snag or tall tree they find the size of Egg Lake and its fish population to be perfect for raising a family. Even the mid-day bird activity which typically slows down elsewhere remains active longer at Egg Lake; possibly due to the diversity of its habitat and resulting bird species.
While the mid-winter doesn’t seem like prime birding time to the casual observer it can provide some of the most dramatic sights of the year. During winter freezes and wind storms; wild swans will often seek the protection of little Egg Lake, gathering in the middle as if in defense from both predators and the weather. Seeing these great white birds surrounded by dazzling thin ice or blending with the whiteness of wind driven snow can provide an image of surreal beauty.
The lack of facilities and smallness of Egg Lake make frequent but short visits ideal. This little lake may be located only a few minutes from a busy island road but it offers a moment of natural peace in an otherwise bustling world. Be aware that only daytime visits are allowed and that as Washington State property (WDF&W) parking permits may be required.
Follow Roche Harbor Rd west from Friday Harbor for about 4 ½ miles. Soon after passing Sportsman’s Lake turn left onto Egg Lake Road. In less than a half mile find limited roadside parking adjacent to the lake on the left.
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San Juan Islands