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How to get washington fishing license

How to get a fishing license in Washington?

If you go regularly fishing, you probably have heard about the required licenses and permits. These are regulations designed to control this activity and to protect fish species.

Usually, terms and fees can vary depending on the state. That is why you need to look for the exact information that applies to yours.

If you live in Washington, in this article, we will explain three options to get your fishing license, what is a catch record card, and how to obtain group fishing permits.

Options to buy a fishing license

Get it online

The first thing you need to know is that any person who lives in Washington, and likes to fish must have a license. The minimum age to acquire one is 15 years old.

The only exceptions for this regulation is in case you are fishing –or collecting– these species: Common carp, Crawfish, Bullfrogs, or Relic shells.

Now, if you need to buy a license, this is what you have to do:

  • Go to the online licensing portal from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Click here to access.
  • If you have already registered, log in with your username and password.

fishing license online

  • But, if you do not have an account, click the “Enroll Today!” blue button to get a WILD ID.

fishing license online create an account

  • After completing all the necessary information to open your account, you will see your dashboard, and you can check the different licenses that the WDFW provides.

On the other hand, if you buy online, you will receive it in your mail ten days later; consider this waiting-period in case you have an upcoming activity.

But, if you registered your email to your WILD ID, you can receive a temporary license that will be valid during those ten days.

➡ READ ALSO: How to get a state ID card

Contact by phone

Although it is the least used method, you can also call the WDFW to request a fishing license. The process is very simple:

  • Call to the 360-902-2464.
  • They will ask you for information about yourself to create your account (especially your Social Security number).
  • Select the license you want to buy and make the payment.
  • Wait ten days to get it in your mail.

Visit a license dealer

The last option is to visit a license dealer, and there are hundreds of them in Washington. Besides stores like Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer, and Ace Hardware, you can search for your nearest dealer on the WDFW official website, here: www.wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers.

You just need to select the County where you live and click on “Find a license dealer.”

fishing license dealer

License types

Another thing to consider is the type of license you want to purchase. There are different depending on the place where you are going to fish (freshwater or saltwater), the duration, and purpose.

In this link, you can see the descriptions and how much they cost according to your age and status: www.wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/fishing/types-fees.

fishing license types and costs

Catch record card

This is a card required to control and estimate the fishing of certain species, such as:

  • Salmon.
  • Steelhead.
  • Sturgeon.
  • Halibut.
  • Puget Sound crab.

Every time you go fishing, you need to write down on the card whatever you caught. In this document, you can see instructions about how to fill it correctly: www.wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2019-01/crc_instructions.pdf.

catch record card instructions

On the other hand, you may be wondering how to get the card? Well, that depends on the type.

  • If you are fishing regular species (as the ones we mentioned in the beginning), Salmon, Steelhead, or Sturgeon, you will receive the basic Fish Catch Record Card with your license.
  • However, if you are fishing Halibut, you need to purchase the Halibut Catch Record Card and pay $5.50 for it.
  • And, if you are fishing Puget Sound crab, you can request the Puget Sound Dungeness Crab Catch Record Card with no charges.

Besides buying it and filling it, you also need to submit it before the deadline; it does not matter if you did not catch anything, you still have to return it.

The due dates are:

  • April 30th, for regular fish card, after the license year ends.
  • October 1st, for summer crab cards, after the summer season ends.
  • February 1st, for winter crab cards, after the winter season ends.

And, the mailing address is:
catch record card mailing address

Permits for group fishing

The WDFW also issues permits to groups of people, so that they do not have to purchase an individual license.

You can get more information by visiting their official website here: www.wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/fishing/group-permits. For your convenience, they also provide the PDF forms to request the permit.