Some of the most popular fishing opportunities are available for anglers in the coming weeks, including trout in hundreds of rivers, crab in south Puget Sound, chinook in the Columbia River and salmon in ocean waters along the coast.
Sound like fun? Prospective anglers who are interested in fishing but don’t have a fishing license can get in on the action during Free Fishing Weekend, scheduled June 7-8.
During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in Washington state. In addition, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required that weekend to park at any of the 700 water-access sites maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
“Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to try fishing in Washington, whether you are new to the sport, thinking about taking it up or looking to introduce a friend or family member to fishing,” said Chris Donley, WDFW inland fish program manager.
While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as season closures, size restrictions and bag limits will still be in effect.
In addition, all anglers will be required to complete a catch record card for any salmon, steelhead or halibut they catch that weekend. They also must fill out a catch record card for crab, which is open only in South Puget Sound (Marine Area 13) during Free Fishing Weekend.
Catch record cards and WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet are available free at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state.
Of course, this month’s fishing opportunities don’t begin and end with Free Fishing Weekend. Other key dates for anglers include:
May 31 – Selective fisheries for hatchery chinook salmon open in marine areas 1-4.
June 1 – Crab fishing opens in Marine Area 13 south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
June 7 – Trout fishing opens in hundreds of rivers across the state.
June 14 – Traditional recreational ocean salmon fisheries for chinook and hatchery coho get under way in marine areas 1-4.
June 16 – Fishing for summer chinook and sockeye salmon opens on the Columbia River from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Priest Rapids Dam.
July 3 – Crab fisheries open in most areas of Puget Sound, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
For more information about fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing available this month, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/ .