Anglers across Washington will be able to fish without a license on the state’s lakes, rivers, and marine waters during this year’s annual Free Fishing Weekend on June 12 and 13.
Residents and non-residents can fish or gather shellfish across the state on those days, in any waters open to fishing, all without a license.
“Free Fishing Weekend is a great opportunity to try fishing for the first time, or maybe the first time in a long time,” said Steve Caromile, Inland Fish Program manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “And if you’re already an avid angler, it’s the perfect chance to introduce someone new to the sport.”
During Free Fishing Weekend, people also do not need a Discover Pass or Vehicle Access Pass to park their vehicle at a state park or lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and WDFW.
Some of the opportunities available during free fishing weekend include:
- Trout in lowland lakes, and in the many rivers open to trout fishing throughout the state. Search for a lowland lake near you at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/locations/lowland-lakes.
- Lingcod on the coast.
- Bass, crappie, perch and other warmwater fish biting in lakes throughout Washington.
- Shad on the Columbia River (portions of the lower river are also open for salmon and steelhead; be sure to see the emergency rule for more information).
There are plenty of other opportunities available statewide; before heading out, anglers should check the current fishing regulations valid through the end of June at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations, and any emergency rules at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/. While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as size limits, bag limits, catch record card requirements and area closures are still in effect.
“It’s important to account for the catch of certain species like crab, halibut, salmon, sturgeon and steelhead when and where the season is open, so catch record cards are still required on Free Fishing Weekend,” said Kirt Hughes, WDFW’s Fish Management Division manager.
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. See https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers on the WDFW website to locate a license dealer.
For those who want fishing advice, WDFW’s YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/thewdfw) provides "how to" fishing videos designed to introduce techniques to both new and seasoned anglers.
Anglers who take part in Free Fishing Weekend can also participate in the department's 2021 Trout Fishing Derby and redeem tags from trout caught over the weekend. Interested anglers should check for details online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/contests/trout-derby.
Anglers will not need a two-pole endorsement to fish with two poles in selected waters where two-pole fishing is permitted.
In addition, the free Fish Washington app, available on Google Play, Apple's App store and at WDFW's website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/app) 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.
Source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife