Salmon fishing off the coast is supposed to be great this season. Local lakes are stocked with rainbow trout. Many rivers will open Saturday for the summer fishing season. Bass fishing in Eastern Washington waters is improving. Crab season is open in the waters south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
All good reasons to take advantage of Free Fishing Weekend, set for Saturday and June 8.
During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in the state. Also, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required during the weekend to park at any of the nearly 700 water-access sites maintained by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
In addition to being able to fish without a licenses, anglers also will not need a two-pole endorsement to fish with two poles on selected waters where two-pole fishing is permitted. Anglers will also not need a Columbia River salmon and steelhead endorsement, otherwise required to fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries.
“Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to try fishing in Washington, whether you are new to the sport, have not taken up a rod and reel in years, or want to introduce a friend or young family member to the sport,” Chris Donley, inland fish program manager, said in a prepared statement.
To help anglers decide where to wet a line, the department has expanded its Internet-based resources to suit anglers of all skill levels, said Donley.
Anglers can check the “Fish Washington” feature at the department’s homepage — wdfw.wa.gov — for details on fishing opportunities. The map-based Web page includes fishing information by county, lake and fish species throughout the state.
The department also has “how to” fishing videos, designed to introduce techniques for both new and seasoned anglers, posted at youtube.com/thewdfw.
While no licenses are required during Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as size limits, bag limits and closures will still be in effect. Anglers will also be required to complete a catch record card for any salmon or steelhead they catch.
Catch record cards and 2014/2015 sportfishing rules pamphlets are available free at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. See wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors to find a license dealer.
The sportfishing rules pamphlet is available at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.