OLYMPIA — Each year, thousands of Washingtonians go fishing — legally — without a license on “Free Fishing Weekend,” scheduled for June 8-9.
“If you haven’t fished in Washington, or want to introduce fishing to someone new, this is the weekend to get out there,” said Ron Warren, assistant director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fish program.
During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in Washington State.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to get outside and enjoy all that Washington’s waters have to offer,” said Warren. “Free fishing weekend is a time that we welcome anyone who is curious about fishing to give it a try.”
Some options available on Free Fishing Weekend include:
• Trout in lowland lakes, and in the many rivers open to trout fishing 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
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 2019 Trout Fishing Derby and redeem blue tags from fish caught over the weekend. Interested anglers should check for details online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/Home/FishingDerby.
Anglers will not 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 water-access sites maintained by WDFW or Washington State Parks.
It is important to note that a Discover Pass will be required on Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ lands both days.
Before heading out, anglers should also check the current fishing regulations valid through June at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations. While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as size limits, bag limits, catch record card requirements and area closures will still be in effect.
In addition, the free “Fish Washington” app, available on Google Play, Apple’s App store and 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 exception, for now, is the app does not yet include information on shellfish and seaweed collection rules.
Catch record cards, required for some species, are available free 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.