With booming fisheries already under way in much of the state and the opening day of lowland lake fishing just over a month away, anglers are reminded to take time out to re-license for the coming year.
April 1 marks the first day of the new recreational license year and anglers fishing after that date will need a new license to avoid risking a citation, warns the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The April 1-to-March 31 licensing cycle was instituted in 1999, to bring re-licensing into line with spring fishing activity.
Although license purchases have been automated for the past year, fishers are encouraged to re-license soon to avoid delays or long lines as the new license year begins and the lowland lake opener approaches.
License fees remain the same as last year: $21.90 for freshwater fishing for resident adults (16-69 years of age); $19.71 for saltwater; $7.67 for shellfish/seaweed, and $39.42 for a combination license for all three activities.
Licenses can be purchased at WDFW offices and dealers across the state or by credit card at http://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/ on the Internet.
Despite the April 1 license renewal date, existing sport fishing rules remain in effect through April 30. The new rules take effect May 1 and new rules pamphlets will be available at license dealers and WDFW offices shortly before then.
Fishing is already under way in a number of year-round state waters as well as in March-opening lakes. In addition, the Ringold Bank fishery near the Tri-Cities opens April 1.
Fishing activity will take another leap April 27, when more than 300,000 state fishers are expected to drop lines in the water for the traditional opening day of the lowland lake fishing season.