Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement

May 2019 update – Anglers who fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River basin will no longer be required to purchase a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement to do so beginning July 1, 2019.

WDFW’s legislative authority to implement the endorsement ends June 30. Anglers are still required under state law to obtain an endorsement to fish for salmon or steelhead in the Columbia River until July 1. The department will not be issuing refunds as anglers have had opportunity to use the endorsement and it remains a state requirement through June 30.

A valid fishing license – a freshwater, combination, or Fish Washington license – is required at all times to fish the Columbia River. The agency is also working on modifying the Fish Washington license package, which includes the endorsement.

The department is assessing how the loss of revenue from the endorsement will affect salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Columbia basin once the endorsement expires. That could mean changes to salmon and steelhead fisheries this fall and next spring.

More information is available in this news release.

WDFW will update this website as more information becomes available.

History

Since  April 1, 2010,  anglers 15 years of age and older who fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries have been required to purchase an endorsement that helps maintain and improve fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River Basin.

The Columbia River Recreational Salmon and Steelhead Program endorsement was authorized by Senate Bill 5421 during the 2009 Legislative session. The annual endorsement fee was one of several license fee changes approved by that Legislature to help offset a $30 million cutback in state funding for WDFW.

Funds generated from the $8.75 endorsement fee support needed management activities for continuation and expansion of selective fisheries in the Columbia River Basin. These activities include fisheries enforcement, data collection, monitoring, and evaluation.

As of July 2016, more than 1.4 million endorsements had been sold, generating over $10.3 million in revenue. These funds have been used to maintain and improve recreational salmon and steelhead selective fisheries in the Columbia River and its tributaries. Specifically, the funds will support fishery management activities, including scientific monitoring and evaluation, data collection, permitting, reporting, and enforcement.

Without the revenue from this endorsement, and the guidance of the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Recreational Angler Board (CRSSRAB), many popular fisheries may not be possible or would be very limited.  The CRSSRAB provides recommendations to WDFW for implementation of projects funded by the endorsement stamp.  The Board is comprised of up to 10 volunteers, appointed by the Director, representing the four WDFW jurisdictional regions   -- Eastern (Region 1), Northcentral (2), Southcentral (3), and Southwest (5) -- which make up the Columbia River Basin.

Working with the CRSSRAB, WDFW has developed a list of rivers, lakes and other waters in the Columbia River Basin where the endorsement is required.

For more information, contact the WDFW Fish Program by email or at 360-902-2700.

Waters where the Columbia River endorsement is required

The Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement is required along the Columbia River and its tributaries statewide. You can view a statewide map of these waterways, or a map of lower Columbia waterways where the endorsement is required. 

The endorsement is required on the following waters: 

Mainstem Columbia River from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line to Chief Joseph Dam

Deep River (Wahkiakum County)

Grays River (Wahkiakum County)

  • Grays River, West Fork (Wahkiakum County)
  • Grays River, East Fork (Wahkiakum County)

Skamokawa Creek (Wahkiakum County)

Elochoman River (Wahkiakum County)

Mill Creek (Lewis County)

Abernathy Creek (Cowlitz County)

Germany Creek (Cowlitz County)

Coal Creek (Cowlitz County)

Cowlitz River (Cowlitz/Lewis Counties)

  • Blue Creek (Lewis County)
  • Lacamas Creek (Lewis County)
  • Mill Creek (Lewis County)
  • Olequa Creek (Lewis County)
  • Tilton River (Lewis County)
  • Tilton River, East Fork (Lewis County)
  • Tilton River, North Fork (Lewis County)
  • Tilton River, West Fork (Lewis County)
  • Tilton River, South Fork (Lewis County)
  • Mayfield Lake (Lewis County)
  • Lake Scanewa (Lewis County)
  • Cispus River (Lewis County)

Coweeman River (Cowlitz County)

Toutle River (Cowlitz County)

  • Toutle River, North Fork (Cowlitz County)
  • Toutle River, South Fork (Cowlitz County)
  • Green River (Cowlitz County)

Kalama River (Cowlitz County)

  • Gobar Creek (Cowlitz County)

Lewis River (Clark/Cowlitz Counties)

  • Lewis River, North Fork (Clark/Cowlitz Counties)
  • Lewis River, East Fork (Clark County)
  • Cedar Creek (Clark County)

Salmon Creek (Clark County)

Washougal River (Clark County)

Washougal River West (North) Fork (Clark County)

  • Little Washougal (Clark County)

Camas Slough (Clark County)

Drano Lake (Skamania County)

Hamilton Creek (Skamania County)

Rock Creek (Skamania County)

Wind River (Skamania County)

White Salmon River (Klickitat/Skamania Counties)

Klickitat River (Klickitat County)

Walla Walla River (Walla Walla County)

  • Mill Creek (Walla Walla County)

Touchet River (Columbia/Walla Walla Counties)

Grande Ronde River (Asotin County)

Snake River mainstem (Walla Walla/Franklin/Columbia/Whitman/Garfield/Asotin Counties)

  • Palouse River (Whitman County) (below the falls)

Tucannon River (Columbia/Garfield County)

Yakima River (Benton, Yakima, Kittitas Counties)

Wenatchee River (Chelan County)

Icicle River (Chelan County)

Lake Wenatchee (Chelan County)

Entiat River (Chelan County)

Chelan River

Methow River (Okanogan County)

Okanogan River (Okanogan County)

Lake Osoyoos (Okanogan County)

Similkameen River (Okanogan County)

Frequently asked questions

What is the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement?

The annual endorsement, authorized by SB 5421 during the 2009 Legislative session, is a licensing requirement for anglers who fish for salmon and steelhead recreationally in the Columbia River and its tributaries. Anglers must purchase the endorsement in addition to a fishing license to fish in those waters.

Why is the endorsement required?

The annual endorsement was created to help maintain and improve recreational salmon and steelhead selective fisheries in the Columbia River and its tributaries. Specifically, the fee supports fishery management activities, including scientific monitoring and evaluation, data collection, permitting, reporting, and enforcement.

When did this new requirement take effect?

The annual endorsement has been required since April 1, 2010.

How much does the endorsement cost?

The total charge of the endorsement, after transaction and dealer fees, is $8.75.

Who needs to purchase an endorsement?

Any angler 15 years of age or older with a Washington fishing license fishing recreationally for salmon or steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries is required to have an endorsement.

Are anglers licensed in Oregon required to purchase the endorsement?

Anglers with an Oregon license are not required to purchase an endorsement if they are fishing from a boat or from the Oregon bank of the Columbia River. However, as always, anglers licensed in Oregon fishing the Columbia River from Washington’s bank and sloughs – except Camas Slough – are required to purchase the appropriate Washington fishing-license documents.

Are anglers licensed in Idaho required to purchase the endorsement?

Anglers with an Idaho license are not required to purchase an endorsement if they are fishing from a boat or from the Idaho bank of the Snake River. However, as always, anglers licensed in Idaho fishing the Snake River from Washington’s bank and sloughs are required to purchase the appropriate Washington fishing-license documents.

Where is the endorsement required?

The endorsement is required, along with a fishing license and a catch record card, for anglers 15 years of age and older to fish for salmon and steelhead on the Columbia River and its tributaries when open to fishing for those species. WDFW, working with the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Recreational Angler Board, has developed a list of waters in the Columbia River basin where the endorsement is required.

What is the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Recreational Angler Board? 

The Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Recreational Angler Board was formed in September 2009 to advise WDFW on the use of money generated from the endorsement. SB 5421 directed WDFW to form the board, which has no fewer than six and no more than 10 members who represent different regions of the Columbia River Basin.

How much money has been generated from the endorsement?

As of July 2016, more than 1.4 million endorsements have been sold, generating over $10.3 million in revenue. These funds have been used to maintain and improve recreational salmon and steelhead selective fisheries in the Columbia River and its tributaries. Specifically, the funds will support fishery management activities, including scientific monitoring and evaluation, data collection, permitting, reporting, and enforcement.

Where can I buy a license and endorsement?

At one of the more than 600 WDFW license dealers throughout the state or at WDFW's online licensing system.

Where can I get more information?

Contact WDFW fish biologist Mike Tonseth at 509-664-3148, ext. 12, or the WDFW Licensing Division at 360-902-2464.