Thursday, July 25, 2024

Cast your line for free during Washington's Annual Free Fishing Weekend

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OLYMPIA - Fishing enthusiasts across Washington state are gearing up for the annual Free Fishing Weekend, set to take place on June 8-9. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is inviting anglers of all ages and skill levels to cast their lines and enjoy the state's diverse fishing opportunities without the need for a license.

During this special weekend, anglers can fish for a variety of species, including trout and warm-water fish, in lakes throughout the state. The WDFW website offers a comprehensive guide to help anglers find a lowland lake near them and check which lakes have recently been stocked.

Additionally, anglers participating in the Free Fishing Weekend can take part in the Department's 2024 Trout Fishing Derby and win exciting prizes by redeeming tags from trout caught over the weekend. The derby features tagged fish stocked in lakes across the state, and plenty of prizes are still up for grabs.

For those looking to venture to the coast, the Free Fishing Weekend also offers the opportunity to fish for lingcod, cabezon, and rockfish along the Washington shoreline, with no boat required. The WDFW has also provided a helpful blog post on jetty fishing for those interested in trying their hand at this unique fishing experience.

Another popular spot during the Free Fishing Weekend is the Columbia River, where anglers can harvest shad. The WDFW offers guidance on where and how to catch these fish effectively.

While the Free Fishing Weekend waives the need for a license for many species, anglers should note that any fish requiring a catch record card, such as sturgeon, salmon, steelhead, and halibut, as well as all shellfish, will still require a license. It is essential for anglers to check the current fishing regulations, emergency rules, and area closures before heading out to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

"Fish and Wildlife police remind you that failure to follow the regulations may result in a citation," said Kirt Hughes, WDFW fish management division director. "Knowing the rules before heading out will make for a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience."

In addition to the fishing license, other requirements waived during the Free Fishing Weekend include the Vehicle Access Pass, Discover Pass when parking on WDFW, DNR, or Washington State Park lands, and the Two-Pole Endorsement where applicable.

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