Free Fishing Weekend arrives in the state as anglers will not need a license to fish legally for two days
If you lack a Discover Pass and a fishing license but wouldn’t mind grabbing a fishing pole and tempting a salmon using state parks land, you’re in luck.
Free Fishing Weekend arrives June 9-10 to the delight of the thousands of Washington residents who take advantage of an opportunity to go fishing or gather shellfish without a license each year.
“If you haven’t fished in Washington, or want to introduce fishing to someone new to the sport, this is the weekend to get out there,” said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW inland fish program manager.
During the two-day stretch, no license will be required in any waters open to fishing in Washington state.
Anglers will also not need a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement, otherwise required to fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries.
Nor will they need a Two Pole Endorsement to fish with two poles in selected waters where two-pole fishing is permitted.
Also, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required during Free Fishing Weekend to park at any of the nearly 700 water-access sites maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
A Discover Pass will also not be required on Washington State Parks lands throughout the weekend, but will be required on Department of Natural Resources lands both days.
Options available on Free Fishing Weekend include:
- Trout in lowland lakes and in the many rivers opening to trout fishing June 2 throughout the state
- Lingcod on the coast
- Bass, crappie, perch and other warmwater fish biting in lakes throughout Washington
- Shad on the Columbia River
- Hatchery steelhead on rivers on the Olympic Peninsula
New anglers should check online for the “Fish Washington” feature at the department’s homepage (wdfw.wa.gov). The site provides details on lowland lake fishing, high lake fishing and marine area opportunities. Catchable trout stocking details, by county and lake, are available in the weekly stocking report on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/.
For those who want even more fishing advice, the Fish Washington video page (wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/videos) 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 2018 Trout Fishing Derby and redeem green tags from fish caught over the weekend. Interested anglers should check for details online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/derby.
Before heading out, anglers should also check the current fishing regulations valid through June at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations. In addition, the free “Fish Washington” app, available on Google Play, Apple’s App store and WDFW’s website (wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/mobile_app.html), is designed to convey up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area in the state. The exception, for now, is the app does not yet include information on shellfish and seaweed collection rules.
While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, it’s still important to check the regulations for other rules such as size limits, bag limits, catch record card requirements and area closures that will still be in effect, said Thiesfeld.
Catch record cards, required for some species, are available free at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. Visit wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors on the WDFW website to locate a license dealer.