Washington Fishing Rules

Washington Fishing Rules
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has the responsibility of overseeing fishing in the state. Anglers should familiarize themselves with the laws of the state to avoid breaking any of these regulations.

Loss of Privileges

An angler can lose his fishing privileges for as long as five years if convicted of such charges as harvesting fish that are on the endangered species list, assaulting an agent, employee or officer of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, or using a fishing license unlawfully.


Anglers should become familiar with the type of fishing their license allows. For example, a combination license lets an individual fish freshwater and saltwater as well as harvest seaweed and shellfish.

Catch Record Card

Someone planning to fish for steelhead, halibut, sturgeon, salmon and the Puget Sound dungeness crab must possess, then fill out, a "catch record card."

Unlawful Activities

Activities such as using a crossbow to fish with, snagging fish, employing the use of explosives or poisons to obtain fish, leaving fishing gear unattended and spear fishing for certain species are unlawful.


Washington regulations impose strict possession limits and size limits on game fish species. For instance, an angler can keep only one tiger muskellunge per day, and the fish cannot be less than 50 inches long.

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