Spring chinook salmon are moving into the lower Columbia River, dozens of eastside lakes open for trout fishing March 1, and a series of morning razor-clam digs is tentatively scheduled to run through early April.

These are just a few of the reasons why anglers might want to consider purchasing a 2012-13 fishing license before current licenses expire at midnight March 31.

Hunters also have good reason to plan ahead. A spring wild turkey season for hunters under age 16 is scheduled April 7-8 prior to the start of the general spring turkey hunt April 15.

“We encourage people to renew their fishing and hunting licenses early, so they can take advantage of the great recreational opportunities available in the coming weeks and months,” said Bill Joplin, licensing manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The cost of some licenses reflects a fee increase approved by the state Legislature last year to help WDFW meet the cost of managing hunting, fishing and the natural resources that make those activities possible. The new rates, which took effect last September, represent the first general increase in recreational license fees in more than a decade.

All fees included, a resident adult freshwater fishing license is $29.50; saltwater is $30.05; shellfish/seaweed is $16.30; and a combination license is $54.25. Resident hunting licenses vary with package options, ranging from a small-game license at $40.50 to a deer/elk/cougar/bear combination license for $95.50.

Most annual licenses include a WDFW vehicle-access pass, which gives the bearer access to more than 600 WDFW recreational access sites throughout the state. Or, individuals can purchase an annual Discover Pass for $30 (transaction and dealer fees may apply), which also provides vehicle access to state parks and other state lands.

Fishing licenses, hunting licences and the Discover Pass are all available online (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), by phone (1-866-246-9453) and from license dealers around the state.

For current information about upcoming razor-clam digs, call WDFW’s Shellfish Hotline (866-880-5431) or go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.

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