WDFW Fish Program, 360-902-2700
Public Affairs contact: Ben Anderson, 360-902-0045
OLYMPIA – Anglers across the state will be able to fish without a license this weekend, June 11-12, during Washington’s annual Free Fishing Weekend event.
Residents and non-residents can fish or harvest shellfish across the state on those days, in any waters open to fishing, all without a license.
“If you’ve ever wanted to try fishing or any of the other unique opportunities Washington offers, Free Fishing Weekend is the perfect time,” said Steve Caromile, inland fish program manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “It’s easier than ever to get started fishing, and it’s also a great time to introduce someone to fishing without the need to buy a license.”
During Free Fishing Weekend, visitors are not required to display a Vehicle Access Pass or Discover Pass for day-use visits to a Washington state park or to lands managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources or WDFW.
Some of the opportunities available during free fishing weekend include:
- Trout and bass in lowland lakes, and in the many rivers open to gamefish throughout the state. Search for a lowland lake near you and see which lakes have been recently stocked at the WDFW website, as well as this blog post on how to have a successful day on the water as a beginning trout angler.
- Lingcod, cabezon, and rockfish on the Washington coast (no boat required; see our blog post on jetty fishing).
- Salmon fishing on much of the lower Columbia River. See open dates and regulations for the different portions of river in this news release.
There are plenty of other opportunities available statewide; interested anglers should be sure to check the current fishing regulations valid through the end of June before hitting the water, as well as any emergency rules currently in effect.
While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as seasons, size limits, daily limits, and area closures are still in effect. For example, Puget Sound crabbing is not currently open, as well as clam and oyster seasons on many beaches.
Catch record card requirements meant to help monitor certain fisheries -- like crab (only coastal crab fisheries are currently open), halibut, salmon, sturgeon, and steelhead across the state – also remain in effect. Most catch record cards are available free (except halibut, which costs $5.50) at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. Visit the WDFW website to locate a license dealer.
“Catch record cards are a critical management tool, so they remain a requirement during Free Fishing Weekend and it’s important that anglers continue to fill them out accurately,” Caromile said.
Anglers without a license taking part in Free Fishing Weekend can still participate and win prizes in the department's 2022 Trout Fishing Derby and redeem tags from trout caught over the weekend. Plenty of prizes remain on tagged fish stocked in lakes throughout the state.
Anglers will not need a two-pole endorsement to fish with two poles in selected waters where two-pole fishing is permitted.
In addition to the permanent rules and emergency rules listed above, the free Fish Washington app, available on Google Play, Apple's App store and at WDFW's website, is designed to convey up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area in the state.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish, wildlife, and recreational and commercial opportunities.