Catch trout, salmon, sturgeon during Free Fishing Weekend

Columbia River

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Anglers are reeling in salmon and sturgeon from the Columbia River, lingcod from Puget Sound, and trout from lakes and ponds throughout the state. Starting June 1, fishing seasons will also open for trout in hundreds of rivers across the state.

Sound like fun? Prospective anglers who are interested in fishing but don't have a fishing license can get in on the action during Free Fishing Weekend, scheduled June 8-9.

During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in Washington state. In addition, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required that weekend to park at any of the 650 water-access sites maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

"Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to revive an old hobby or to introduce friends and family to fishing," said Craig Burley, WDFW Fish Division manager. "Adults can take kids fishing on a wide variety of waters around the state."

While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as season closures, size limits and bag limits will still be in effect. For example, no crab fishing will be allowed in Puget Sound during Free Fishing Weekend, because no areas will be open for crabbing at that time.

In addition, all anglers will be required to complete a catch record card for any salmon, steelhead, sturgeon or halibut they catch that weekend. Catch record cards and WDFW's Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet are available free at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. The rules pamphlet is available online at

Of course, this month's fishing opportunities don't begin or end with Free Fishing Weekend. For Father's Day, WDFW hatchery crews are stocking 10,000 extra triploid trout in 20 popular lakes during the weekend of June 15-16. Other key dates for anglers include:

June 1 - Portions of the Skagit, Cascade and Skykomish rivers open to fishing for hatchery chinook salmon.
June 8 - Selective fisheries for hatchery chinook salmon begin off the coast of Ilwaco and Westport in marine areas 1 and 2.
June 16 - Fishing for summer chinook and sockeye salmon opens on the Columbia River from the Megler Astoria Bridge upstream to Priest Rapids Dam.
June 22 - Selective fisheries for hatchery chinook salmon begin off the coast of La Push and Neah Bay in marine areas 3 and 4.
July 1 - Crab fisheries open in most areas of Puget Sound, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

For more information about fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing available this month, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on WDFW's website at These reports are updated throughout the month to provide up-to-date information about recreational opportunities around the state.