Washington’s 2019-2020 fishing regulations now available


This document is provided for archival purposes only. Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

News release

Fish Program, 360-902-2700

OLYMPIA - Start planning for your next fishing trip with the 2019-2020 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, now available from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The new pamphlet is effective July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, and features rules and regulations for hundreds of lakes, rivers, and marine areas around the state, as well as species including trout, salmon, shellfish, sturgeon, and many more.

The regulations are available online now at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations, and at hundreds of license dealers and WDFW offices throughout Washington. Find a WDFW license dealer near you at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers.

Some of the changes to this year’s regulations that anglers should be aware of include:

  • Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement: Beginning July 1, the Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead endorsement is no longer required to fish for salmon or steelhead on the Columbia River and its tributaries.
  • Smelt: Beginning July 1, a saltwater or combination license is now required for anglers fishing for smelt in saltwater. Previously, a license was not required if fishing for smelt in saltwater.
  • Barbless hooks: Barbless hooks are no longer required when fishing for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River mainstem from the mouth (Buoy 10) to Chief Joseph Dam, and all tributaries from the mouth to McNary Dam.

Additionally, the Legislature this year approved new boating regulations meant to protect endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. All boaters must stay 400 yards away when in front of or behind orcas, and 300 yards away at all other times. Any boat within a half-mile of the whales must also reduce speed to 7 knots or less. Learn more about WDFW’s orca conservation efforts at https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk/species-recovery/orca.

WDFW issues updates and corrections to the pamphlet as needed. Before you go, be sure to review these changes by visiting https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations and selecting “2019-2020 sport fishing rules.”

Anglers can also stay up to date with regulations by downloading the Fish Washington mobile app on their smartphone. More information can be found at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/app.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Civil Rights Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.