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Washington

Fishing

Fishing

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Other General Information

Sportfishing Rule Development

For information on upcoming sportfishing rule development, please visit our website at https://wdfw.wa.gov. The website will have information on the schedule, how you can participate, and the types of rule changes we will be considering. In addition, you can sign up to receive fishing rule changes and regulatory focused news releases at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/lists.

Fish Tagging Notice

Researchers throughout the state have released fish including sturgeon, with PIT tags (small glass-encased microchips) injected into the muscle just behind the top of the head. The tag doesn’t need to be returned, but check for the presence of a tag if the fish is to be consumed.

Several state and federal agencies (including WDFW), universities and Indian tribes also have released salmon, steelhead, sea-run cutthroat trout, sturgeon, and various marine fish species with acoustic tags in their body cavities. These tags transmit signals that are picked up by special receivers, allowing fishery managers to track the fish. Anglers who find a tag while cleaning their catch should call (360) 902-2700 to report the tag number, species of fish, date and location of their catch.

Special Use Permit

Anglers with “WDFW Disability Status” (see License Information) may apply for a “Special Use Permit” to accommodate their fishing activities. Special Use Permits are customized on a case by case basis to the individual’s particular need. For more information, go to: https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility

Prohibited Aquatic Species

It is illegal to transport, introduce, or use prohibited aquatic animal and plant species, unless specifically authorized. WDFW encourages citizens to be vigilant in preventing the introduction or spread of prohibited and other non-native species. To report sightings and learn more about what you can do, please call toll free 1-888-WDFW-AIS. For more information on Aquatic Invasive Species, go to https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/invasive.

License Suspensions and Property Forfeitures

Washington State’s Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Code (Revised Code of Washington Chapter 77.15) requires the mandatory suspension of a person’s fishing privileges, for up to five years, if a person is convicted of one of the following violations:

  • assaulting a Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officer, or an employee or agent of the Department performing official duties
  • first degree waste of fish and wildlife
  • harvesting endangered fish or wildlife
  • unlawfully purchasing or using a license

In addition, repeat offenders (any person with three convictions for any kind of violation within ten years) receive a mandatory two-year suspension of all fishing and hunting privileges. The law treats an uncontested notice of infraction, a finding of “committed” on an infraction, or a guilty plea as a conviction that will count toward a potential suspension. You will permanently lose your fishing and hunting privileges if you hunt or fish on a suspended license or face a lifetime or longer term suspension if a violation demonstrates a willful or wanton disregard for the conservation of fish or wildlife. Furthermore, property that is used to violate any fishing and hunting regulations, or that is held with the intention of committing a violation, may be seized for evidence and may ultimately be forfeited to the state.

Anti-Snagging Rule Examples

See Definitions.

Weighted Gear Example

When using weight, or non-buoyant lures, only 1 single-point hook measuring ¾" or less from point to shank may be used.

Buoyant (floating) Lure Example

Up to 3 hooks measuring ¾" or less from point to shank may be used. Hooks can be single, double, or treble.

Reporting Violations/Poaching

Fish and Wildlife Police Officer Badge

DIAL 911 to Report a Life Threatening Emergency

For Non-Emergency Violations/Poaching:

  • Call WDFW toll-free 1-877-933-9847 (1-877-WDFW-TIP); or
  • Use the dedicated WDFW email address ([email protected]); or
  • Text your poaching/violation tip anonymously to the WDFW poaching hotline 847411 (TIP411).
    1. Start a text message on your phone. On the first line of the message type the key word WDFWTIP. Then add a space and type in the violation information.
    2. Then, from the phone’s menu, select Send To: and type in 847411 (TIP411), and press send (Note: The text message is sent to a special computer server that will mask your identity and assign an alias); OR
  • Report the crime on-line to WDFW by using the following web address: https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/enforcement/report or
  • To report fish and wildlife related crimes and incidents, call WILDCOMM at (360) 902-2936, Option 1, OR 1 (877) 933-9847
  • For further information see https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/enforcement/report

For Other Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Questions:

Report lost or stolen recreational shellfish gear online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/gear-rules/lost-gear

For Aquatic Invasive Species Reports: Call toll-free 1-888-933-9247 (1-888-WDFW-AIS)

Reward Program

Information that contributes substantially to an arrest of another person for violation of Title 77.15 RCW, WAC 220, or WAC 232, including loss of fish, wildlife, or damage to WDFW property, could be eligible for a cash reward. Annually, about $8,000.00 is paid in rewards.