Washington State is a wonderland of fishing opportunities. For a beginner to Washington fishing, our state’s vast diversity of fishing options can seem overwhelming. But, we will help you get through this, and find some great fishing! If you are a visitor, just moved to Washington, or are new to fishing in general, this post is for you.
Olympic Peninsula and Coastal Region
Fishing in Washington’s Coastal Region gives us some world class opportunities. With miles of wilderness areas, rugged coastline, and a lifetime worth of fishing adventure.
Rivers large and small meander through the temperate rain forest of the Olympic Peninsula. Most anglers come here to explore the banks or float down these wild rivers in search of Salmon, Steelhead, Dolly Varden and Cutthroat Trout. The Sol Duc, Bogacheil, Hoh, Queets, Upper Quinault, Humptulips Rivers are revered as strongholds for Wild Salmon.
The vastness of the Pacific Ocean is accessed by Washington’s coastal towns. Sekiu, Neah Bay, La Push, Westport and Ilwaco all harbor vibrant fishing communities. Fishing charters and private boats ply the deep blue for Salmon, Halibut, Lingcod, Rockfish and Albacore Tuna throughout the spring and summer.
Seattle and Puget Sound Region
Seattle is most certainly a fishing metropolis. Salmon fishing, shrimping and crabbing are all popular pass times throughout our Puget Sound, San Juan Island archipelago, and Hood Canal. You can even find good fishing a short drive from the city center! And the hinterlands of Puget Sound offer up miles of rivers and hundreds of lakes to fish.
Chinook and Coho Salmon are primary targets in Central Puget Sound closest to Seattle, Washington. During warm summer days, people all around Puget Sound soak crab pots for tasty Dungeness. Spring gives us a chance to haul in Spot Shrimp, Lingcod and Flounder. Winter brings in millions of Squid, more crabbing, and some exceptional beach fly fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat Trout.
Cascade Range and Central Washington
The Cascade Mountain Range is the volcanic spine that separates the Western and Eastern regions of the state. The Cascades are our alpine playground. Visit Mount Rainier National Park and North Cascades National Park and bring your fishing rod. Many wilderness areas and vast expanses of national forestlands hide lakes, rivers and streams. If you enjoy trout fishing in the high country, then you need to plan a trip.
Eastern Washington is wide open country with sagelands, pine forests, mighty rivers, spring creeks, massive reservoirs and small farm ponds. Warmer and drier than the left side of Washington, it offers up some of the best fishing for Bass and Walleye in the West. The mighty Columbia River and its tributaries welcome back large returns of Chinook, Coho and Sockeye Salmon, as well as Steelhead. Lakes pepper the sagelands of the Columbia Basin and host great fly fishing for Rainbow and Brown Trout.
What you need to go fishing in Washington
Fishing License for Washington State
Before you take off for your new fishing spot, you need to buy a fishing license. Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s website has plenty of information about fishing licenses.
Basically, everyone 15 years or older, both resident and non-resident, needs a fishing license on them while fishing in Washington State. WDFW Fishing and Shellfishing Licenses. You can get a Freshwater, Saltwater, Shellfish, or Combination License. There are many options for daily and multi-day licenses as well.
Some fisheries require us to record our catch. Anglers of every age need to have a Catch Record Card when fishing for Salmon, Steelhead, Halibut, Sturgeon and Puget Sound Dungeness Crab. Optional licenses include Puget Sound Crab Endorsement, Razor Clam Only License, and Two-Pole Endorsement. I buy the Fish Washington Combo and get everything for a discounted rate.
Fishing Equipment for Washington
With so many unique fisheries, there is no one rod and reel setup, or fishing line, or tackle that will fit every need. But first you need to decide where you want to go fishing. Then you can use this site and your local outfitter to find the best fishing techniques, and match up the equipment and tackle.