Commercial fishing guide logbook

The fishing guide logbook reporting system is now live, with a variety of ways for guides to report their fishing activity. You can download the WDFW Guide Logbook app for Android devices and Apple devices, for online reporting. Guides interested in obtaining a paper logbook may do so by calling our licensing team at 360-902-2464 to request a logbook by mail, or by picking up a logbook at WDFW's Olympia office, located 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia, WA, 98501.

In summer 2019, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted rules requiring commercial fishing guides to fill out logbooks to record data on their fishing activity. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, guides are required to report fishing activities to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) on a monthly basis, providing information such as the date and location of each guided fishing trip, the number of anglers onboard, and the number and type of fish species caught per trip.

This new logbook reporting system allows the agency to collect additional biological data, but also data on industry trends, helping build a more accurate picture of the industry in Washington and the contribution guides have to local economies. It also allows the department to improve its communications around the role the industry plays in promoting tourism, conservation, and recruiting new anglers into the sport.

To make reporting as easy as possible, the agency developed both mobile and paper reporting tools which collect the same basic information, based on WAC 220-352-245.

The agency worked with the Fishing Guide Advisory Group, which is comprised of guides from across the state to develop reporting tools and communications materials to support implementation of the new reporting requirement.

Guide trips can be logged through the WDFW Guide Logbook app on Android devices and Apple devices or through the paper logbook which can be requested via our licensing team at 360-902-2464.

If you have questions about how to use the mobile application please contact our commercial harvest data team at or 360-902-2394.

Developing the logbook

Work on the concept of a logbook system began during the 2017 legislative session, when a bill was introduced that would have drastically changed how guides are regulated in the state of Washington.  While the bill did not pass, it sparked a formal process for the agency to begin engaging fishing guides throughout Washington in an evaluation of the industry: what's know about usage and trends, contribution to local economies, and alternative structures of regulation.

The agency held 14 meetings in the summer of 2018 that highlighted the diversity of perspectives on how to regulate the industry and the need for more data on the distribution of guides throughout Washington. The agency hosted another eight meetings in early 2019 to talk specifically with guides about the idea of a guide logbook system, and learn from Washington guides who fish in states like Alaska that already have a logbook system in place. The agency collected public comment during the Commission’s rulemaking process and established a Fishing Guide Advisory Group to help vet reporting tools.

WDFW sent a letter to fishing guides in late October 2019 informing them of the upcoming changes, and another letter in December notifying them that the reporting tools are now live.

Frequently asked questions

Who needs to fill out a commercial fishing guide logbook?

All Washington licensed food fish, game fish and combination fishing guides taking clients on a guided fishing trip in Washington state, including boundary waters (e.g., the Columbia River where it is shared with Oregon) will need to fill out a logbook for their trip. The logbook will need to be filled out regardless of whether the trip is taken in a boat, kayak or on foot.

How will WDFW use this additional data?

The new logbook reporting system will allow the agency to collect additional biological data, but more importantly, it will allow WDFW to collect data on industry trends. This data will help build a more accurate picture of the demographics of the industry, the geographic distribution of guide activity in Washington, and the contribution guides have on local economies. It will also allow WDFW to increase communications on the role the industry plays in promoting tourism, conservation and the recruitment of new anglers into the sport.

When do reports need to be filled out and returned to the department?

All reports on guided fishing activities must be initiated at the beginning of the day of the trip with location, date and client information and completed prior to leaving the boat launch at the end of the trip. Mobile application users must complete, finalize and submit trips the day the trip occurred. Paper logbook users must return their trip logs to WDFW twice monthly; trips occurring between the 1st and 15th of the month must be postmarked by the 28th of the month and trips occurring between the 16th and the last day of the month must be postmarked by the 14th of the next month. Paper logbook users can send logs in batches to the department at the following address: WDFW Catch Record Card Unit, PO Box 43142, Olympia, WA 98504

Do I have to enter information for crew, clients, or catch on days when I am not guiding?

For personal trips taken without clients, a guide must record in the app or paper logbook that trip by checking the non-guided trip box on the form and recoding guide license number and date.  No other information is required for trips that are not guided.

In the app, what is the difference between save, finalize, and submit?

The “save” function only saves a trip on your phone, it does not send the data to the WDFW server. After saving you can review the trip and correct errors if needed. After you are satisfied with your report you can use the “finalize” function to save that report in a final state on your phone. Once finalized, a trip report will be date stamped and captured as final on your phone so that enforcement can see it has been completed. If you have cell service on the water the “submit” button will send the report to the WDFW server immediately. If you don’t have service, you can wait until you are back in range to submit that report in order to preserve battery. Trips must be recorded using the “submit” or “finalize” button prior to leaving the boat launch in order to be in compliance with WAC 220-352-245.

Why do I need a secure access Washington (SAW) account?

Guides that choose to report using the mobile applications will need to establish an account to ensure that we only get trip reports from licensed fishing guides. This security measure will ensure that we get the data only from industry and aren’t getting false reports generated from outside of the industry.

What if I take two separate guided trips in one day?

Guides are responsible for creating a report for each fishing trip taken.  If two trips are taken in one day, a separate report must be filled out in the app or logbook for each trip.

What if my trip takes place in an area with multiple site codes?

Using the app or the paper logbook, if you move into a new site code area you will need to create a new trip. That new trip will include the same data as the first report, the only difference being the new site code.

What if the location I'm fishing doesn't have a site code listed in the app or logbook?

The site code list currently only includes a subset of the streams, lakes and marine areas within Washington State. You may not find a site code listed for many streams or lakes. In that case, enter or write in the name of the stream or lake and the county.

When do I need to input the county when logging a trip?

On the paper logbook and in the app, you will need to report County for all trips occurring on a stream or lake that does not have an assigned site code. This will allow us to differentiate between streams or lakes that have the same name.

Why can't I access my trips reported in my paper logbook or phone app?

If you want to be able to access your reports after submitting them through the mobile app, you will need to use the mobile reporting tool. Paper logbooks submitted to WDFW for data entry will not be accessible through the mobile  application.

Where do I find my guide license number?

Whether using the mobile app or paper logbook, the form will ask for your guide license number. This number can be found on the bottom right corner of your guide license. It is a six digit number and is different than your vessel registration number.

Where on the log do I record a customer's WILD ID?

Guides should use the field titled “Anglers WILD ID” to record their customers WILD ID or one-day temporary guide stamp number. This first version of the paper logbook has a duplicate field above that titled “Customer WILD ID or Guide Stamp #.” Please don’t fill out that field, we will be removing it in the next batch of logbooks we print.

What if I can't read the customer's WILD ID number?

If the customers WILD ID number is worn out on their paperwork, please capture as many numbers as you can in the mobile app or on the paper logbook form and denote the numbers you can’t read with a “?”

What if my customer doesn't have a WILD ID?

If you have a customer without a WILD ID, like a youth, temp guide stamp holder, or out-of-state angler, you will enter their information into the “Angler WILD ID” field.

  • For youth customers without a catch record card simply input “YOUTH” in the “Angler WILD ID” field in either the paper log or mobile applications.
  • For out-of-state customers you will find a check box for OR/ID license number in the mobile application. If you are using the paper logbook to report, please input the state abbreviation (i.e. OR or ID) and then the out-of-state license number.
  • For customers fishing with a Temporary Guide Catch Record Card or “Guide Stamp” you will record the number found on the guide stamp in red font on the top right corner. You will enter that number in the “Angler WILD ID” field. If you are using the mobile  application, you will see a checkbox for “guide stamp number” where you can input that data.

What if my customer refuses to show me their WILD ID number or fishing license?

As a licensed commercial fishing guide, you have the responsibility to ensure your clients are fishing with a valid fishing license and the authority to record your client’s WILD ID number. If your client prefers to record their own WILD ID number on the form, that is acceptable as well.  

How do I report guiding activity using the app if I'm fishing in a remote area without cell phone coverage?

The app is designed to allow recording and saving of daily fishing activities offline.  Guides using the app can fill out a daily report and use the “finalize” button to save a report in a final state on their phone. When an individual returns to cell coverage they can simply hit the “submit” button to send their finalized reports to the department. If a guide is contacted by an enforcement officer in a remote location, before they have returned to cell coverage and submitted their report(s), the finalized reports stored on their phone are date and time stamped to allow enforcement officers to verify that the guide is in compliance with the reporting requirements.

How do I adjust an entry after it's been entered?

If you are using the paper logbook, if you make a mistake on the log please cross out and initial the correction. If the mistakes are big enough to require a new log, write “VOID” across the old logbook entry, leave it in your logbook and begin a new entry. If you are using the mobile application, entries can be adjusted through the mobile app until it is submitted. If you realize a mistake was made after an entry is submitted in the mobile app you can void it through the mobile application.

Do charters need to fill out a logbook?

Charters are not required to fill out a logbook under WAC 220-352-245. That said, Charters do provide data to the department in other ways; through our port sampling program along the coast and through a voluntary reporting system in the Puget Sound. The agency has heard from the charter industry an interest in making their reporting more user friendly and so we will be evaluating whether an app may make sense in the future.