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Fishing News and Updates

Related fishing news and updates is for a quick reference for the latest news available for your fishing trip. Below is a map with all the marine areas. 

Salmon Rules & News

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

February 19, 2019
 Kyle Adicks, 360-902-2664

WDFW invites public participation in 2019 salmon season-setting process

OLYMPIA – State fishery managers have scheduled a variety of opportunities for the public to participate in setting salmon fishing seasons for 2019, starting with the annual statewide salmon forecast meeting Wednesday, Feb. 27.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will present initial forecasts compiled by state and tribal biologists of the 2019 salmon returns at the meeting scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave. S.E., Olympia.

That meeting is one of more than a dozen sessions scheduled at various locations around the state as part of this year's salmon season-setting process. A list of the scheduled meetings can be found online at

State fishery managers rely on input from anglers, commercial fishers, and others interested in salmon as they work to develop this year's fisheries, said Ron Warren, head of WDFW's fish program.

"It's important for us to hear what the public has to say about salmon fisheries,” Warren said. "We're trying to make that easier this year by making video of some of the major public meetings available online. And we'll again take public input electronically on our fishery proposals."

Additionally at the upcoming meetings, fishery managers will discuss steps to protect southern resident orcas from disruptions from fishing vessel traffic and ways to consider the whales' dietary needs in the fishing season-setting process.

The declining availability of salmon – southern resident orcas’ primary prey – and disruptions from boating traffic have been linked to a downturn in the region's orca population over the past 30 years.

"We're working with the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop tools to assess the effects of fisheries on available prey for orcas," Warren said. "These upcoming meetings provide opportunities for the public to understand the steps we're taking to protect orcas this year."

In addition to attending meetings, other ways the public can participate include:

  • Plenary session: State and tribal co-managers plan to hold an informal discussion during the public meeting, Wednesday, April 3, in Lynnwood. Details will be available on the webpage listed above. 
  • Meetings on video: The department intends to provide video of several public meetings. More information will be available online soon.

The annual process of setting salmon fishing seasons is called "North of Falcon" and is held in conjunction with public meetings conducted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). The council is responsible for establishing fishing seasons in ocean water three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.

The PFMC is expected to adopt final ocean fishing seasons and harvest levels at its April 11-15 meeting in Rohnert Park, Calif. The 2019 salmon fisheries package for Washington's inside waters is also expected to be completed by the state and tribal co-managers during the PFMC's April meeting.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

Halibut Rules & News

2019 Halibut Days Set:

South Coast (Marine Area 2): 

  • Thursday, May 2 
  • Sunday May 5
  • Thursday, May 9
  • Sunday, May 12
  •  Friday, May 24


  • South Coast (Marine Area 2): Thursday, May 2; Sunday May 5; Thursday, May 9; Sunday, May 12; Friday, May 24
  • These halibut season dates are preliminary until adopted into federal regulation by the National Marine Fisheries Service but can be used for planning purposes, as they are unlikely to change.  Please note, Pacific halibut are managed to a quota and openings are dependent on available quota.
  • If sufficient quota remains after the all-depth fishery has closed, the northern nearshore area will open on the following Saturday.  When quota is available, the nearshore area will be open 7-days per week until the remaining quota is taken.
  • The northern nearshore area includes the waters from 47° 31.70’ N. latitude south to 46° 58.00’ N. latitude and east of a line approximating 30 fathoms as described by the following coordinates:

47°31.70’ N.  124°37.03’W.
47°25.67’ N.  124°34.79’W.
47°12.82’ N.  124°29.12’W.
46°58.00’ N.  124°24.24’W.

  • In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there is a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restriction.  There is a four fish annual bag limit.  Anglers must record their catch on a WDFW catch record card.
  • Check for additional information as the season progresses in the Emergency Rules website.

Bottom Fishing Rules & News

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Record Fish

Record Black Rockfish 

Rochester angler breaks black rockfish sport fish record

OLYMPIA – Steven Charles Orr of Rochester, Washington, has set a new state record for the largest black rockfish caught in Washington state waters, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed today.  

The 10.72 pound fish measured 26.15 inches and was caught May 15 in Marine Area 1 near Ilwaco, Pacific County, while Orr was bait fishing with herring. 

"I thought I had a ling cod," Orr said. "It was like fighting a big king salmon, and when I got it up to the boat, it absolutely dwarfed a 6 to 7 pound sea bass we had onboard. It was definitely a fighter."

The new record exceeded the previous black rockfish record by almost half a pound. That record was held by Joseph Eberling for a fish he caught in the Tacoma Narrows area of Puget Sound in 1980.

Rivers & Fresh Water Fishing

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

June 2017
(Fish) 360-902-2700
(Wildlife) 360-902-2515

Trout, salmon fishing opportunities abound in June

Some of Washington's most popular fishing opportunities are open to anglers this month, including chinook salmon in the Columbia River and trout in rivers throughout 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 10-11.

During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in Washington. In addition, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required to park that weekend at any of the 700 water-access sites maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). For more information, check the department's website at

Of course, outdoor adventures don't begin and end with Free Fishing Weekend. Great opportunities over the next several weeks include:

  • Trout: Many rivers across the state open for trout fishing June 3. Meanwhile, the lowland lakes fishing season is underway and anglers have plenty of opportunities to reel in some nice-size fish over the next several months.
  • Columbia River salmon: The summer salmon season begins June 16 as hefty upriver summer chinook salmon and sockeye salmon begin moving in increasing numbers into the Columbia River.
  • Lake Roosevelt sturgeon:  For the first time in about 30 years, Lake Roosevelt is open for white sturgeon fishing. Check the Eastern Washington (Region 1) report for details. 
  • Puget Sound salmon: Salmon fishing seasons are open in southern Puget Sound (marine areas 11 and 13).
  • Bird watching: June is a great month to view birds in Washington, particularly at WDFW wildlife areas east of the Cascades.
  • Puget Sound crab: State shellfish managers are working to finalize this year's Puget Sound crab fisheries and hope to announce season information soon. Check the department's recreational crab fishing webpage ( for updates.

For more information about fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities 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.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

June 1, 2017
 Steve Thiesfeld, 360-902-2662

Anglers can fish for free June 10-11

OLYMPIA – Each year, thousands of Washingtonians go fishing – legally – without a license on "Free Fishing Weekend," scheduled for June 10-11.

During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in Washington state.

Anglers will also not need a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement, otherwise required to fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries.  Nor will they need a Two Pole Endorsement to fish with two poles in selected waters where two-pole fishing is permitted.

Also, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required during Free Fishing Weekend to park at any of the nearly 700 water-access sites maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).  A Discover Pass is required in state parks on Sunday, June 11 and on DNR lands throughout the weekend however.

"If you haven't fished in Washington, or want to introduce fishing to someone new to the sport, this is the weekend to get out there," said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW inland fish program manager.

Anglers have been catching daily limits of trout at lakes for the past month, and many rivers will open to trout fishing June 3 throughout the state. Other options available on Free Fishing Weekend include:

  • Lingcod on the coast.
  • Bass, crappie, perch and other warmwater fish biting in lakes throughout Washington.
  • Hatchery spring chinook on the lower Yakima River
  • Shad on the Columbia River.
  • Hatchery steelhead on rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.

For tips, new anglers should check online for the "Fish Washington" feature at the department's homepage ( The site provides details on lowland lake fishing, high lake fishing and marine area opportunities.

For those planning fishing vacations, Great Washington Getaways ( showcases some of the state's best family travel and fishing opportunities. 

And, for those who want even more fishing advice, the Fish Washington video page ( provides "how to" fishing videos designed to introduce techniques to both new and seasoned anglers.

Anglers who take part in free fishing weekend can also participate in the department's 2017 Trout Fishing Derby and redeem tags from fish caught over the weekend. Interested anglers should check for details online at

Before heading out, anglers should also check the current fishing regulations valid through June a  

While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as size limits, bag limits and area closures will still be in effect. Anglers will also be required to complete a catch record card for any salmon, steelhead, sturgeon or halibut they catch.

Catch record cards are available free at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. See on the WDFW website to locate a license dealer.

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