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Washington FishingFishing in Washington

If you have chosen Washington as a destination for fishing, you will get ample opportunities, as fishing in Washington comprises of both saltwater and freshwater fishing of a number of fish and shellfish species and wherever you are, there are good chances that you are near some fishing spot.

Places to Fish

As said earlier, the state offers both saltwater and freshwater fishing. There are saltwater piers, docks and beaches for saltwater fishing and lakes, rivers and streams for freshwater fishes.

fishingSaltwater Fishing

You can get access to saltwater fishing through dozens of public piers and docks lying between Bellingham and Ilwaco. You may not catch an excellent number of salmon or halibut from these public pier, but anglers do catch their of salmon, perch, sole and other fish every year.

Port Angeles City Pier

Port Angeles City Pier

Puget Sound

Public piers in Puget Sound are ideal for squid fishing or jigging at night. You can find squids right from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to south Puget Sound. Another extremely popular fishery at Puget Sound is Dungeness crab fishing.

Some of the public fishing piers and docks of Puget Sound are Port Angeles City Pier, Blaine Dock (Port of Bellingham), Gooseberry Pt. Ferry Dock, Boulevard Park Pier, Bellingham Cruise Terminal, Friday Harbor Marina Docks, La Conner Marina Docks, Bowman’s Bay Pier, Cornet Bay Docks, Oak Harbor Marina, Oak Harbor Pier (Flintstone Park), Coupeville Pier, Kayak Point County Park Pier, Langley City Pier, Fort Worden Marine Science Center Dock, Port Hudson Jetty, and so on.

Saltwater Beaches

Saltwater beaches of Puget Sound and Pacific coast will be like heavens to you if you are a gourmet of clams, oyster and other shellfish. At low tide, you will find enough clams for several meals in less than an hour of clam digging.

Puget Sound beaches are populated by tremendous variety of clams, like manila, butter, macomas, cockles, native littlenecks, geoduck, and so on, plus two varieties of oysters, namely Pacific and Olympia.

Pacific coast beaches, unlike Puget Sound, are not allowed to public harvesting of steamer clams or oysters at all the areas. But the coast offers something that Puget Sound doesn’t and that is “razor clams”! The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has divided the harvest areas in five main zones, namely

Long Beach

Long Beach

  • Long Beach from the Columbia River north to the Willapa Bay mouth.
  • Twin Harbors from Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at Grays Harbor mouth.
  • Copalis Beachfrom the north jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor to the Copalis River.
  • Mocrocks from the Copalis River to the south Quinault Indian Reservation
  • Kalaloch from South Beach campground north to ONP Beach Trail 3.


The beauty of Washington saltwater fishing is it needs utmost simple and inexpensive tackle. Dungeness crabs are caught using pots, ring nets and even with bare hands by divers and waders. Clams are dug with nothing more than a garden rake of trowel-size, though the razor clams present some challenges. Razor clams too need nothing more than a clam shovel or special tube, a container to keep your clams and of course clam license. And you will have to carefully look for “clam show”, which is the hole where the clam has withdrawn its neck or has dug the sand.

fishingFreshwater Fishing


State of Washington has more than 7000 lakes! And many of them are open all the year round. Only lowland lakes’ season opens on the last Saturday of April. WDFW stocks millions of hatchery-reared trout, mainly rainbow trout, but many lakes also contain other species like cutthroat, brown trout, bass, burbot and perch. Some of the top Washington lakes are Williams, Silver, Louise, Wapato, Tarboo, Badger, Fishtrap, Fragrance, Downs, Sylvia, Whatcom, Clear, and so on.

Rivers and Streams

Though because rivers and streams are not stocked with hatchery trout, your daily catch may count less, you have equally increased chances of catching larger fish like salmon, steelhead and sometimes even a sturgeon. There are more than 4000 rivers and streams in the state, each with a different fishing experience. Larger river like Columbia can be fished like a lake, from a boat or the shore. And the fast moving streams are often fished from the bank and require some skill in casting etc. Some other rivers in the state are Snake River, Lewis River, Skykomish River, Cowlitz River, and so on. One remote and unspoiled fishing destination giving you the hottest catch of steelhead, trout and salmon, can be the Olympic Peninsula, which comprises of the most beautiful and richest forest.


In Washington, properties could have extended to the streambeds, so anglers should take care of not trespassing any private property. Also, to protect certain areas of salmon, bull trout and steelhead, fishing regulations can be complex, which you should be aware of.


Fishing license is necessary for all fishing and shellfishing in the state. Buying it is very easy, online and at more than 500 land-based retail license vendors. The charge is $22 for adults and free for children below the age of 14 years.

You must have realized that fishing in Washington is nothing less than a wonder dream! Why not plan this trip to the Evergreen State?