Cap 4-12 cm broad, convex, broadly convex to nearly plane in age; margin incurved when young, often with veil fragments; surface fibrillose-scaly, reddish-brown to pinkish-brown over a yellowish, gelatinous subcuticle; flesh thick, pale yellow, sometimes turning pink when cut; odor pungent, taste mild.
Tubes adnate to slightly decurrent; pores at first buff-tan, darker in age, bruising brown.
Stipe 3-7 cm tall, 1.5-2.5 cm thick, equal to slightly clavate, solid; surface yellow at the apex, yellow with overlying reddish-brown fibrils below; flesh blueing at the base when cut; veil pallid, thin, membranous, evanescent, leaving fragments on the cap or forming a soon obliterated, superior veil on the stipe.
Spores 7.5-10 x 3-4 µm, subellipsoid, smooth; spore print brown.
Scattered to gregarious under Douglas fir; fruiting from late fall to mid-winter.
Suillus lakei is recognized by a reddish-brown, dry, fibrillose-scaly cap, pores that bruise brown, and a stipe base that turns blue when cut. Although the dry cap is somewhat atypical for a Suillus, it should be noted that old specimens of S. lakei may become viscid in moist weather, especially if the scales have weathered away. Suillus lakei var. pseudopictus occurs in Mendocino county and tends to have a darker, more fibrillose cap.