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Illustration of a vehicle license plate with a steelhead swimming under water

This is a draft design. WDFW is working with the state departments of licensing and transportation to develop a final design by Fall 2016.

Steelhead license plate will support conservation in Washington

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is working with the Department of Licensing to develop a specialty license plate that will feature the state’s official fish. In March 2016, Gov. Inslee signed legislation to create a steelhead plate to generate revenue to help conserve wild populations of steelhead.

In much of Washington, wild steelhead are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. WDFW is taking several actions to restore those populations to sustainable levels.

Sales of the new specialty plate would raise an estimated $200,000 each year to enhance efforts to:

  • Estimate the number of wild steelhead on the spawning grounds, and ensure that the population numbers are consistent with the productivity of the river.
  • Monitor interactions between wild and hatchery steelhead to help ensure future hatchery steelhead production and management actions support the recovery of wild stocks.
  • Estimate the number of wild steelhead harvested in fisheries and the number of wild steelhead caught and released by anglers.

Before the state Legislature considered the license plate proposal, WDFW collected signatures from more than 4,000 people who expressed interest in buying a steelhead specialty license plate. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition!

The initial price of special wildlife-themed background plates ranges from $54 to $72 depending on the vehicle, in addition to the regular license fees. The steelhead specialty license plates will be available for purchase in early 2017. For more information, visit the Washington State Department of Licensing website at

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