Overview of Fishing Regulations and Restrictions

Rod and Line Usage

  • General Rule: Only one rod or line per angler, except in specific circumstances.
  • Two-Rod Validation: Allowed in designated areas; ice fishing permits up to five rods.
  • Youth Anglers: Under 12 may use two rods in permitted areas without needing validation.
  • Offshore Pelagic Species: Unlimited rods beyond three miles offshore if only targeting these species.

Equipment and Methods

  • Rods/lines must be closely attended.
  • Mechanical assistance for landing fish is restricted.
  • Unmanned vehicles/drones are not permitted for angling or assistance.
  • Snagging gamefish is prohibited.
  • Ice holes cannot exceed 12 inches.
  • Chumming is banned except for specific offshore activities.

Bag Limits and Possession

  • Catch limits must be adhered to; exceptions exist for bass tournaments and assisting disabled anglers.
  • Anglers cannot fish for a species after reaching bag or possession limits.
  • Sharing or catching others' limits is generally not allowed.
  • Sale of personal catch is prohibited, with exceptions for ocean food fish remains and salmon eggs.

Release and Waste Prevention

  • Immediate release of non-target or illegal catches without removing them from water.
  • Wasting of catch is unlawful.
  • Fish carcasses must not be discarded in waters other than where caught.

Special Tags and Permissions

  • Fish with radio tags should not be taken, with specific exceptions.
  • No removal or interference with hatchery facilities or signage.
  • Inspection compliance is mandatory for license, catch, and gear.

Property and Privacy

  • Private land fishing requires permission.
  • Trespassing near or interfering with fishways and traps is prohibited.


  • False reporting and illegal transport of live fish or eggs are against regulations.
  • Bringing live fish or eggs into the state without a permit is forbidden.

Gear and Bait Regulations Overview

Anti-Snagging Gear Restrictions

  • Applicable Areas: Specific exceptions noted in regulations.
  • Gear Limitations: Use of artificial fly, lure, or bait with a single-point hook only.
  • Hook Size: Must be 3/4 inch or smaller at the gap.
  • Hook Placement: Attached to or below the lure or bait.
  • Weight Distance: Minimum 18 inches above the lure or bait.
  • Leader Length: Depending on zone, either 18-36 inches or up to 6 feet.

Salmon/Steelhead Bobber Fishing Guidelines

  • Applicable Areas: Where salmon/steelhead bobber fishing rules are enforced.
  • Gear Requirements: Artificial fly, lure, or bait with a single-point hook, including a bobber.
  • Leader Limit: No longer than 36 inches.
  • Weight Placement: No more than 36 inches from the hook when suspended vertically; the bobber must suspend all components above the riverbed.

Bait Usage Rules

  • Permitted Baits: Dead or preserved fish, fish parts, shellfish, and fish eggs.
  • Prohibitions:
    • Live Fish: Cannot be used as bait except for nongame fish in ocean, bays, and tidewaters from the same location.
    • Goldfish and Lamprey: Not allowed as bait or in possession while angling.
    • Live Crayfish and Leeches: Also prohibited.

Transport and Possession Restrictions

  • Live Fish: Illegal to transport, hold, or release live fish in state waters, except for specific exceptions related to aquaria use or with a Fish Transport Permit.

Hook and Weight Guidelines

Hook Limitations

  • Maximum Hooks: Up to three hooks are allowed for angling, except when using herring jigs for marine species.
  • Hook Classification: A double or treble point hook counts as a single hook.
  • Two-Rod Validation: If angling with two rods where permitted, hook restrictions apply separately to each rod.

Barbless Hook Requirements

  • Specific Species: Barbless or single-point hooks may be mandated for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, or trout in certain areas. Always check local regulations.
  • Catch and Release: Barbless hooks are recommended for catch-and-release fishing to minimize harm to fish.

Species-Specific Hook and Weight Regulations

  • Pacific Halibut: Limited to two hooks.
  • Sturgeon: Only one single-point barbless hook is allowed.
  • Ocean Salmon: A maximum of two single-point barbless hooks for ocean salmon fishing or when targeting other ocean species with salmon or steelhead onboard.

Salmon/Steelhead (Excluding Ocean)

  • Hook Size Restrictions: Single-point hooks with a gap larger than 1 inch and multiple-point hooks with a gap larger than 9/16 inch are prohibited.
  • Weight Attachment: Weights not part of a conventional lure must be fixed on the line between the lure and rod tip.
  • Distance from Hook: For hooks with a gap larger than 5/8 inch or for multiple-point hooks, weights must be at least 18 inches above the topmost hook.

Angling and Harvest Methods, Hours, and Other Restrictions

Game Fish

Includes salmon, shad, steelhead, sturgeon, trout, whitefish, bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, sunfish, yellow perch, and walleye.

  • Method: Angling only.
  • Daylight Hours: Fishing is limited to one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.
  • Restrictions:
    • Illegal to snag, spear, gaff, net, trap, club, shoot, or ensnare freshwater game fish.
    • Game fish must be hooked inside the mouth.
    • It's unlawful to remove eggs from salmon, steelhead, or sturgeon without keeping the carcass in the field.
    • Game fish must not be so mutilated that size, species, or fin clip cannot be determined until reaching your vehicle or concluding fishing for the day.
    • Using lures for sturgeon in areas closed to salmon and steelhead angling is prohibited.
    • Gaffing or penetrating sturgeon while landing or releasing is illegal.
    • Sturgeon over 54 inches in fork length must not be removed from water.
    • All non-legal fish must be immediately released unharmed.

Nongame Fish and Shellfish — Freshwater

  • Bullfrogs: Can be harvested by various methods. No license required.
  • Crayfish: Harvested by hand, baited lines, net, rings, and traps. No license required. Bag limit: 100 crayfish per day.
  • Freshwater Mussels and Clams: Harvesting is prohibited.
  • Lamprey: Can only be taken at Willamette Falls with specific permits.
  • Smelt: An angling license is required. Eulachon smelt harvest in inland waters is generally prohibited unless under emergency rules.
  • Suckers, Pikeminnow, Carp, Chub, Sculpin, and other Nongame Freshwater Fish: Can be harvested by angling, hand, and other methods with certain restrictions.

Food Fish and Shellfish — Marine

Refer to the Marine Zone for detailed regulations.

  • Herring, Anchovy, Sardines: Can be harvested by angling, dip net, cast net, and herring jig.
  • Lingcod, Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling, Flounder, Sole, Perch, and other Marine Fish: Harvested by angling and other methods. Open 24 hours.
  • Pacific Halibut: Harvested using a single rod and line or spear. Open 24 hours.

General Restrictions

  • Fish must not be dressed or mutilated before landing to ensure size and species can be determined.
  • Transporting mutilated fish across state waters is illegal, with the exception for albacore tuna which can be partially cleaned at sea.


Wild Advisor Pro


The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.