Washington State Fishing License

Washington State Fishing License 2024

2024 Washington Fishing License

Obtaining a Washington state fishing license involves several steps. First, you need to determine the type of fishing license you require based on factors such as residency status, age, and duration of the license. You can then purchase the license online through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website at a licensed retail store, or by contacting a WDFW office directly.

When purchasing online, you’ll need to create an account, provide necessary personal information, select the type of license you need, and complete the payment process. Once the transaction is complete, you’ll receive a digital copy of your fishing license, which you should carry with you while fishing to comply with state regulations. Be sure to check the 2024 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for the most up-to-date fishing regulations, size and creel limits. 


Fish Washington Annual*

Combination Annual**











*Included with this license is a Combination License,  Two-Pole and Puget Sound Dungeness Crab endorsements.

**Includes Freshwater, saltwater, shellfish harvest, and seaweed Licenses.

***Freshwater fishing only.

Washington State Fishing License

Fishing License Washington State

Fishing in Washington State is a cherished pastime for many, but navigating the regulations around licenses and permits can be daunting. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice casting your first line, understanding the requirements is essential to ensure a smooth and legal fishing experience.

Who Needs a Fishing License?

If you’re 15 years or older and planning to fish in Washington State, you’re required to have a fishing license, catch record cards (CRC), and any endorsements necessary for specific species and areas. This includes providing your Social Security Number to obtain a license, as mandated by federal and state law.

However, there are exceptions. You don’t need a license if you’re fishing for common carp, crawfish, bullfrogs, smelt (in freshwater), or collecting relic shells.

For youth anglers aged 14 and younger, a fishing license isn’t required, but CRCs are necessary for specific species. Youth must actively participate in fishing activities and adhere to all rules and restrictions.

Resident or Non-Resident?

Determining your residency status is crucial for purchasing the right license. To qualify as a Washington state resident, you must meet specific criteria outlined by the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). This includes having a valid Washington state driver’s license or identification card, maintaining a permanent place of abode within the state for at least 90 days preceding the license purchase, and not holding resident hunting or fishing licenses in another state or country.

Reduced fees and assistance are available for certain individuals, including veterans with service-connected disabilities, seniors, individuals with disabilities, and those who permanently use wheelchairs or are blind or visually impaired.

How to Obtain a Fishing License

Buying a fishing license and parking passes is convenient and accessible. You can purchase them online 24/7 through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) website or over the phone via customer service. Documents typically arrive within 10 days, and temporary licenses are emailed if a valid email address is provided.

Authorized dealers also offer licenses, tags, and catch record cards for immediate use. Refunds are available under specific circumstances, such as system or dealer errors or duplicate purchases.

Types of Licenses and Endorsements

Washington State offers various license types to accommodate different fishing preferences. From annual licenses with catch record cards to short-term options for specific durations, anglers can choose what suits them best. Additionally, endorsements like the Two-Pole Endorsement and Puget Sound Dungeness Crab Endorsement cater to specific fishing practices and species.

Washington State Fishing License

Key Fishing Dates and Regulations

Understanding key fishing dates and regulations is vital for planning your fishing trips effectively. Events like Free Fishing Weekend, the Lowland Lake Opener, and the Trout Derby offer unique opportunities for anglers. However, it’s crucial to note that certain regulations, such as those concerning catch record cards, still apply during these events.

Parking on State Recreation Lands

Parking on Washington state recreation lands requires either the WDFW Vehicle Access Pass or the Discover Pass. While the Vehicle Access Pass is valid for WDFW land only, the Discover Pass covers State Parks and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lands as well.

Final Thoughts

Navigating fishing licenses and regulations in Washington State doesn’t have to be intimidating. By understanding who needs a license, how to obtain one, and the various types available, anglers can enjoy their fishing adventures while ensuring compliance with state laws. Remember to check for updates and regulations before heading out, and always practice responsible fishing to preserve Washington’s rich aquatic ecosystems for future generations.

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