Your Guide to Fishing in Washington State

Fishing and Washington State are a match made in Heaven. Looking for some of the best freshwater and salt water fishing in the world? Then grab your pole and tackle box and head to the Pacific Northwest.

The freshwater streams and rivers are bursting with trout and bass; or try your luck landing a salmon on the banks of the Wind River.

Sea Fishing in Washington State

Sea Fishing in Washington State. Reproduced under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of Katherine_Davis on Flickr

You can also head to the Pacific Ocean and numerous bays and coves for sturgeon, steelhead, halibut, shad and fall chinook salmon. The fish are fresh and the waters are brilliant in Washington State, and that brings anglers from around the world to try their luck at landing the "Big One".

The Best Spots for Fishing in Washington State

There are a number of great fishing spots in Washington State; these great places change each year as rivers and streams are regularly restocked.

Even if local conditions change from year to year, in general the ten best fishing spots in Washington State are the Columbia River, Puget Sound, Olympic Peninsula, Lewis River, Neah Bay, Drano Lake, Kalama River, Snake River, Wind River and Cowlitz River.

No matter what sort of fishing you enjoy you can find a place to do it in Washington State.

Whether it's trolling, bottom fishing, casting, bait fishing, back bouncing, jigging, float tubing or spin casting, there is a secret spot that will win the trophy fish of your dream.

Washington State is probably most widely-known for its excellent fly fishing. Fly fisherman make annual treks to the Pacific Northwest to try their luck in the icy cold water.

Reel Time Fishing Northwest

I am a fan of this column by Mark Yuasa. You should check it out if you're planning to fish along the Washington Coast.

Legal Issues

Before you can do any fishing in Washington State, however, you must apply for the proper fishing permits and licenses. Not all fish are in season year-round; most have a limit of how many you can have in your possession.

Fishing in Washington State

Fishing in Washington State. Reproduced under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of kerrythis on Flickr

Being caught with a fish out of season or more fish than your daily limit permits could mean a hefty fine, or worse. For a complete list if all fishing rules and regulations visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fishing and shell fishing web site.

They have online forms and a complete list of all rules and regulations. You can apply for your license online, pay your fees and print your license.

The Columbia is a great location for pulling some of the world's largest sturgeon. These game fish will put up a fight worthy of anything you might try to pull from the deep ocean. Some weigh in excess of 100 pounds or more, and have more than enough strength to drag you right out of your boat, so be ready for a battle.

In the Snake River you can fish for some wild Chinook Salmon that swim the waterway each spring.

These fish are sneaky, and know enough to avoid the careless angler who doesn't know just the right formula for coaxing them from their watery home.

There are a number of sport fisheries throughout the state which keep the rivers, lakes and streams regularly stocked with fish.

Depending on the season, you can find everything from salmon to sturgeon, not only swimming the rivers and lakes, but also dangling at the end of your line.

If you are lucky enough... or skilled enough.

NOTE: Information correct at time of publication. Always check with your chosen destination before you travel.

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