Catch Trout, Salmon, Halibut During Washington’s Free Fishing Weekend

   05.31.12

Anglers are reeling in halibut from the ocean, sturgeon on the Columbia River and trout from lakes and ponds throughout the state. Starting June 2, hundreds of rivers will also open for trout fishing, followed later in the month by some of Washington’s premiere salmon fisheries.

Sound like fun? Those interested in fishing but don’t have a fishing license will be able to get in on the action during Free Fishing Weekend, scheduled June 9-10.

During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in Washington state. Also, neither a vehicle use permit nor a Discover Pass will be required that weekend to park at any of the 600 water-access sites maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to revive an old hobby or to introduce friends and family to fishing,” said Craig Burley, WDFW fish division manager. “Adults can introduce kids to fishing on a wide variety of waters around the state.”

While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as season closures, size limits and bag limits will still be in effect. For example, no crab fishing will be allowed in Puget Sound during Free Fishing Weekend, because no areas will be open for crabbing at that time.

In addition, all anglers will be required to complete a catch record card for any salmon, steelhead, sturgeon or halibut they catch that 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. The rules pamphlet is also available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.

Of course, the state’s fishing opportunities don’t begin or end with Free Fishing Weekend. For Father’s Day, WDFW hatchery crews are stocking 5,000 extra triploid trout into 14 popular lakes during the weekend of June 16-17. Other key dates for anglers include:

  • June 9 – Selective fisheries for hatchery chinook salmon begin off the southern coast of Washington from Ilwaco north to the Queets River.
  • June 16 – Selective fisheries for hatchery chinook salmon begin off the northern coast. In addition, summer chinook season opens on a major portion of the Columbia River and sockeye fishing opens on a stretch of the Skagit River.
  • June 24 – Coastal salmon fisheries expand to allow the retention of wild chinook, hatchery coho and pink salmon.
  • July 1 – Crab fisheries open in most areas of Puget Sound. In addition, salmon fisheries open in several 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/. These reports are updated throughout the month to provide up-to-date information about recreational opportunities around the state.

Read More