Guide to Fishing in Washington

Guide to Fishing in Washington
There are many places to fish in Washington and different types of fishing as well. Freshwater and ocean fishing are available on rivers, lakes, streams and surf all over the state. And bass, trout, salmon, walleye, catfish, panfish, stripers and crappie are the fish most commonly caught.


A license is required to fish in the state of Washington in any lake, pond, or river except for stretches that exist on privately owned land. The cost of a license depends on its duration, the age of the licensee and whether or not the applicant is a state resident. Prices range from $7.50 for a one-day residency license up to a $81.95 for a nonresident annual license. Lifetime licenses cannot be purchased, but there is a lottery each year for a few licenses. There are many regulations regarding fishing in Washington state, and it is best to look up the type of fish and place you are planning to fish to make sure you aren't breaking any rules. You should also know that certain fish cannot be kept, such as stripers, Dolly Varden and steelhead trout. A link is available below taking you to the regulations regarding all fishing in the state.


Freshwater Locations

There are more than 20 major lakes in Washington state on which to fish, including Alder Lake, Lake Sammamish, Lake Washington and Franklin D Roosevelt Lake, and they range in size from around 2,000 acres to over 60,000 acres. Bass populate most of these lakes as well as the rivers. The Columbia River is especially filled with them. Trout are also found in these lakes as well as others. There are five main types of trout found in the state; however, it is not unheard of to find other varieties on occasion. Rainbow, brook, brown, cutthroat and lake trout are the main types. Bull, steelhead, lahontan and Dolly Varden can be found and caught as well, but these varieties have to be released under normal conditions. Salmon are found in fewer lakes, and are more popular in the rivers.

Ocean Options

Marine waters are open at all hours as long as it is in season. There are limits to certain fish, such as salmon and halibut, and to shellfish, and many regulations as to how certain species can be fished. An example of this is the white sturgeon, which can only be angled for with a single barb-less hook. Fishing seasons in marine areas are dependent on the type of fish being caught and the area being fished. The regulations list this information starting on page 98 of the 2009-2010 Sport Fishing Regulation Pamphlet. You can find a link below that will take you to the current regulations page where you can download the most recent laws.


Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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