Whether you fish from a boat or from the dock, Point Defiance Marina is your resource for a fun day casting!
Free Public Fishing Piers
Salmon, bottom fish, crabbing and squid jigging are favorite pastimes. Both piers offer rod holders, benches and fish cleaning stations.
- Point Defiance Marina Boathouse (open 363 days per year from sunrise to sunset. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas)
- Les Davis Pier on Ruston Way (open year round 24 hours)
Fishing Kit Daily Rental Rates
- Rod and Reel Combo: $10
- Salmon Net: $10
Local Fishing Opportunities
- Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon, sometimes known as King Salmon or “Black Mouth” have swum these waters for generations. There are large runs of these as they return from their youth spent in the Pacific Ocean when they are 3 or 4 years old. While there they feast on the smorgasbord the ocean has to offer and they grow quickly and become very strong. These fish show up in sizes ranging from 10 to nearly 30 pounds! The majority arrive in late July and August but they begin appearances in the spring. These runs return to spawn in local rivers and streams and present a terrific opportunity for an exciting fight and great table fare along the way.
- Black Mouth
There are also resident “Black Mouth” who for various reasons decide to stay in the local waters rather than make the sojourn to the ocean. These fish feed on local bait sources and can be found year around in local marine management areas.
- Silver Salmon
There are also seasonal runs of Silver Salmon (also known as Coho) which usually arrive in late summer. They are well named as they are strikingly “silver”. These fish are famous for their leaping ability during the fight.
- Chum Salmon
These fish with prominent purple and olive green vertical bars on their sides got the nick name “Dog Salmon” as they have teeth similar to our canine friends on both jaws at spawning time. They arrive late in the year and are the last to spawn.
- Pink Salmon
An interesting phenomenon is the Pink Salmon. This smaller species of salmon come back to spawn only during odd numbered years…..but boy do they make a splash! Also known as “Humpys” due to a pronounced hump forward of their dorsal fin on spawning males these fish respond to nearly any lure colored pink. They arrive in huge numbers and provide a fantastic fishery for the whole family! Limits are liberal and the action can be furious!
Are you looking for some insight in regards to the best places to fish in Marina Area 11? Leave a comment on our Facebook page and get responses from the local experts. Facebook.com/PointDefianceMarina
We’re a 5-star certified Clean Marina!
Point Defiance Marina is committed to keeping our water and environment clean while providing facilities for recreational boaters.
Protecting our waters, marine life, fish, and waterfowl from boat and marina pollutants is a major goal of our organization.
Our staff, along with every boater must work together to keep our marina and environment clean. Learn more
IMAGE – fishing-line-recycling.jpg
Monofilament Fishing Line Recycling
Did you know that it takes over 500 years for monofilament fishing line to decompose? Meanwhile, that discarded line can tangle itself around a boat prop or worse yet, marine life.
The Marina and Tacoma Yacht Club are providing four recycle bins where anglers can discard their used monofilament fishing line
- At the Boat Launch
- On the outside wall of our Tackle Shop
- At the Yacht Club Guest Dock
- At Les Davis Pier on Ruston Way
Yacht Club volunteers regularly box it up and send it to Berkeley Conservation where they recycle the monofilament and document the return for the granting agency.
Beach Cleanup Events
Held every 3rd Saturday from 9 am-noon. Meet at the Tackle Shop at 9 am.
The Point Defiance Marina in partnership with Metro Parks’ CHIP-in program and other volunteers conducts regular beach patrols in the area to keep our waterfront clean and provide valuable stewardship and conservation education for participants.
Metro Parks Tacoma strives to create an atmosphere of accessibility for our diverse community. If you have comments and suggestions to help us meet your expectations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Parking: There are designated ADA parking stalls on site at the end of the parking lot; nearest the marina entrance. There is a drop off area leading to the marina entrance. After navigating the ramp from the parking lot, the route to boathouse and marina entry is firm and level on dock planks.
- Entrance: Main Entrance is the accessible entrance for the facility. External doors are not automated and require less then 8lb of pressure to open. Doors are commonly propped open and staff is available for assistance.
- Route: The dock is an open plaza leading to all piers and amenities. There is a 36″ + wide accessible route through the tackle shop, to the boathouse, and to boat lifts. Any alternative paths of travel are noted on the route. Rental boat access is through the Marina. The new boathouse has two levels of lockers; the first level is accessible. The new boathouse has more stable ground consistency than the old boathouse locker area. Given that the Boathouse & Marina is an outdoor dock/pier foundation, disruptions in wood and concrete flooring may exist.
- Assistance: Most information, retail items, signage and customer materials are within the 15-48″ reach range. Ice and herring coolers have lids that require more than 5lb of force to open. Staff is available to provide assistance with out of reach items & frozen bait, particularly in the marina. All cashier and assistance counters are 36″ or less.
- Hospitality: There is a hospitality station in the marina tackle shop, and picnic tables out on the plaza. The hospitality station provides all services within reach range, with appropriate approach.
- Viewing: There are several water view points from inside the tackle shop and along the pier near the boathouse lockers. Safety railings may obstruct some of the view.
- Program: Accessible cleaning station is provided on the dock near the marina. Access to the floating fuel station is provided through an ADA compliant gangway. Assistance with the boat lift for rentals or boathouse tenants is available from the boathouse marina staff.
- Sensory Experience: The marina is in a waterfront complex where inconsistent winds, unique smells, saltwater spray, fish textures, and other natural elements exist. Persons with allergies or sensitivity should review the potential impact when deciding to visit.
Boat Launch & Pier Accessibility
- Parking: There are parking stalls for truck trailer combination units in the lower pier parking lot C. After parking, users cross over to the curb ramp along the pier to reach the route to the boat launch. The overflow lot for the boat launch is available up the hill. There is not an accessible route from Overflow Parking Lot A and the boat launch.
- Route: The route from the parking lot to the launch is separated by the ferry terminal. The route crosses the terminal which creates an elevated slope. Due to this, extreme caution is needed. Ground markings designating cross walks should be followed. The launch gangways are built to accessibility standards.
- Assistance: Most information, launch signage, and customer materials are within the 15-48″ reach range. Staff is available to provide assistance with payment, rules and out of reach items during launch hours. Assistance with the fishing pier amenities is available by contacting the Boathouse Marina staff.
- Restrooms: The public restrooms near the marina tackle shop entrance are accessible. Restrooms on the ferry terminal island are provided by the Department of Transportation. There is a restroom building in the upper overflow parking lot A. These restrooms are not compliant.
- Viewing: The pier provides access to a gazebo and two viewing stations. The viewing stations have picnic tables. The level of access within the viewing stations vary on placement and activity.
- Sensory Experience: The pier and launch are in a waterfront complex where inconsistent winds, unique smells, saltwater spray and other natural elements exist. Persons with allergies or sensitivity should review the potential impact when deciding to visit.
Anthony’s Restaurant Accessibility
- Parking: There are designated ADA parking stalls on site nearest the Restaurant entrance. There is a drop off area leading to the entrance on firm and level on dock planks. The route to the restaurant is accessible.
- Entrance: Main Entrance is the accessible entrance. External doors are not automated and require less then 8 lb of pressure to open.
- Internal Access: The internal routes and facility set up is managed by the restaurant.
- Restroom: The restaurant provides ADA accessible restrooms for customers.
Point Defiance Park was established in 1888 when President Grover Cleveland authorized the federal military reserve to be used as a public park. As early as 1895, the Park Board leased space for a boat stand,restaurant and float at Point Defiance Park to J. Olson for $5 a month. The first permanent boathouse was built in 1903 by Edwin Ferris. Ferris agreed to pay for the construction of the boathouse if he could run it for ten years, at which time he would turn the building over to the Park Board for their use. Ferris’s beautiful octagonal boathouse/pavilion was an immediate success.
Visitors came to the park via ferries, steamers and private boats to tie up at Ferris’s dock or travel along a trail from the original streetcar station. In 1919, the Park Board hired Ambrose Russell to design a new, larger, more permanent boathouse for the waterfront. Only one wing of Russell’s design that included a central tower with two long projecting wings was ever built. The first floor of the 90 x 170 concrete building was finished in 1921. The second and third floors were finished in 1925. Unfortunately, the financial realities of the Great Depression prevented completion of this ambitious project.
In 1933, Ferris’s original octagonal pavilion was removed and a trial aquarium was placed in the first floor of the new pavilion. The entire first floor was converted to an aquarium with its star resident for many years being Dub Dub the seal. The aquarium moved to the grounds of the zoo in 1963. In 1939, a Works Progress Administration built a new boathouse facility on the site of Ferris’s original boathouse. In 1974, a fire destroyed the upper two stories of the 1919/1925 pavilion. The bottom floor is still used for boat storage today. In 1984, a fire also destroyed the WPA era boathouse. The present boathouse opened in 1988.
Even though the physical structures have come and gone over the years, the boathouse complex of Point Defiance Park has always been a focus of fishing and waterfront activities. For many years, water carnivals drew thousands of people to the boathouse to enjoy the fun and fishing derbies are a long-time tradition that continues today. Park visitors continue to visit the beachfront where they can rent boats, fish, eat ice cream or clam chowder, picnic and enjoy the view.