We have compiled information for fishermen and women looking to fish in Washington State waters. Provided are basic breakdowns of some common rules and local fisheries as well as links to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. All Rules are subject to change so it is recommended that you check the regulation book carefully before fishing to avoid a ticket.

Washington State Licensing and Regulations

Licensing InformationNooksack River coho salmon
Fishing licenses are required for everyone over the age of 15. Combination licenses that let you fish for everything including shellfish are $48 and can be purchased at local stores around Whatcom County or online. Please check the rules and regulations before fishing and be sure to have the appropriate license in order to avoid a ticket. Catch record cards are required for salmon and other species and are available when you purchase your license or at any license dealer.

Fishing licenses can be purchased online at which will direct you to

Or fishing licenses can be purchased in person at stores like:

Dave’s sports shop in Lynden
Yeager’s Sporting Goods in Bellingham
Holiday Sports in Burlington
Morgan Creek Outfitters near Sedro Woolley

British Columbia, Canada
There are numerous fishing opportunities just north of the border in lower BC. From the Vedder River, to the Fraser and Thompson, Steelhead and Salmon angling abound.
BC licenses are available for non-Canadians for 1 day, 8 days, and annually. Use the following links to research and purchase and print your BC license online before making your trip.


General statewide rules that apply to certain fisheries

Anti-snagging rule
When in effect, terminal fishing gear is limited
to a lure or bait with one single-point hook.
When fishing from a floating device (boat,
float tube etc.), up to two single-point hooks
may be used. Hooks must measure ¾ inch
or less from point to shank, and must be
attached to or below the lure or bait. Weights
may not be attached below or less than 12”
above the lure or bait.

Reasons for action: This change allows additional recreational opportunity by allowing gear types commonly used in salmon fishing while providing protection to fish from snagging. Anti Snagging rules are in place on the Samish River and Whatcom Creek as well as other bodies of water throughout the state.

Stationary Gear Restriction
The line, weight, lure, or bait must be moving (not stationary) while in the water. When a stationary gear restriction is in place plunking, or letting the bait rest in place on the bottom is not allowed. Most of the Samish River in Skagit County has a stationary gear restriction in place as well as an anti-snagging rule restriction.

Selective Gear Rules
When selective gear rules are in place on a river only unscented artificial flies and lures with one single barbless hook can be used. Bait is prohibited and fish may be released until the daily limit is reached. Only knotless landing nets may be used and fishing is not allowed from boats with motors. Check the WDFW site or rules and regulations pamphlet to read the full definition of the selective gear rule.

Anti- Snagging rule definitions. Taken from the WDFW website.

Clarification and changes:


WDFW Links and Resources

Regulations and Seasons – Find complete information on seasons and special regulations.

Rules and Regulations – Laws and administrative regulations for fishing, hunting, and habitat protection.

Weekender Reports – Latest information about fish and wildlife opportunities around the state.

Catchable Trout Weekly Planting Reports – planting information by month and year.

Go Hunt – maps showing game management unit boundaries, pheasant release sites, etc.

Salmon Smart: A Guide to Helping People Help Salmon

WDFW Public Calendar – List of WDFW public meetings and special events.

Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups – These 14 groups work throughout the state on salmon recovery projects. Public support is important to their success.

Washington State Record Catch – List of state record catches for different freshwater and saltwater species of gamefish.


More Resources

WDFW Main number: 360-902-2200
WDFW Website:

Dangerous wildlife/poaching hotline: 1-877-933-9847

Fishing and hunting license sales: 1-866-246-9453 or

Fishing rule changes: 360-902-2500 email:

General fishing questions and comments:

Hunter reports/special/applications: 1-877-945-3492

Shellfish rule change hotline: 1-866-880-5431

Boat launch information and directions:

Department of Health fish advisories: 1-877-485-7316

Department of Health shellfish hotline: 1-800-562-5632

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.