Getting a fishing license in Washington for 2024 is a straightforward process that ensures you can enjoy the state’s diverse fishing opportunities legally and responsibly. This guide will walk you through the steps to obtain your fishing license, the types of licenses available, and important regulations to keep in mind.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Washington?

In Washington, anyone aged 15 and older must have a fishing license to fish in the state’s waters. This applies to both residents and non-residents. However, there are some exceptions:

  • Children under 15 do not need a license but must have a Catch Record Card for certain species.
  • Adults assisting youth anglers do not need a license if they are not fishing themselves.
  • Certain species like common carp, crawfish, bullfrogs, and relic shells do not require a license.

Types of Fishing Licenses

Washington offers a variety of fishing licenses to cater to different needs:

  1. Annual Freshwater License: Allows fishing in freshwater areas only.
  2. Annual Saltwater License: Allows fishing in saltwater areas only.
  3. Combination License: Covers both freshwater and saltwater fishing, as well as shellfish and seaweed harvesting.
  4. Fish Washington License: An all-inclusive package that includes freshwater, saltwater, shellfish, and seaweed licenses, plus endorsements for Puget Sound Dungeness crab and two-pole fishing.
  5. Short-Term Licenses: Available for 1, 2, or 3 days, ideal for visitors or occasional anglers.
  6. Special Licenses: For specific activities like razor clam harvesting or for disabled veterans and residents with disabilities.

How to Purchase a Fishing License

There are several convenient ways to purchase a fishing license in Washington:

  1. Online: Visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) website. Create an account, select your license type, and pay with a credit card. You will receive a temporary license via email, which you can print and use immediately while waiting for the physical license to arrive by mail.
  2. By Phone: Call 360-902-2464 to speak with a representative who can assist you in purchasing the right license.
  3. In Person: Visit a licensed dealer such as sporting goods stores, tackle shops, or major retailers like Walmart and Cabela’s. You can get your license on the spot.

License Fees

The cost of a fishing license varies based on residency status and the type of license:

  • Annual Freshwater License: $29.50 for residents, $84.50 for non-residents.
  • Annual Saltwater License: $30.05 for residents, $59.75 for non-residents.
  • Combination License: $55.35 for residents, $124.65 for non-residents.
  • Fish Washington License: $69.55 for residents.
  • Short-Term Licenses: $11.35 for a 1-day license for residents, $20.15 for non-residents.

Special Discounts

Washington offers discounted licenses for certain groups:

  • Veterans with a service-related disability and residents who are permanently wheelchair-bound, visually impaired, or have developmental disabilities.
  • Residents aged 70 and older.

Important Regulations

When fishing in Washington, it’s crucial to follow state regulations to protect fish populations and habitats:

  • Catch Record Cards: Required for species like salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, halibut, and Puget Sound Dungeness crab. These cards must be carried while fishing and returned to WDFW by the deadline, even if no fish were caught.
  • Endorsements: Additional permits may be needed for specific activities, such as the Puget Sound Dungeness Crab Endorsement or the Two-Pole Endorsement.
  • Fishing Seasons and Limits: Always check the latest regulations for season dates, bag limits, and size limits. The Fish Washington mobile app and the annual fishing pamphlet are excellent resources for up-to-date information.

Conservation Efforts

Fishing license fees support conservation initiatives, habitat restoration, and public access to fishing opportunities. By purchasing a license, you contribute to the sustainability of Washington’s fisheries and the preservation of its natural resources.


Obtaining a fishing license in Washington for 2024 is essential for legal and responsible fishing. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, the process is simple and offers various options to suit your needs. Remember to follow all regulations and contribute to conservation efforts to ensure that Washington’s fishing opportunities remain abundant for future generations.

For more detailed information and to purchase your license, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website or contact them directly at 360-902-2464.

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