Sportfishing Regulation Updates

Discover the Latest in Sportfishing Rule Development

Explore the latest developments in sportfishing regulations on our official website:

Stay Informed

Stay informed about upcoming changes to sportfishing rules. Visit our website regularly to access information on the schedule, participation opportunities, and the types of rule adjustments under consideration.

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Your participation matters! Learn how you can actively engage in the rule development process by visiting our website. We provide comprehensive guidance on how you can contribute to shaping the future of sportfishing regulations in Washington.

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Fish Tagging Protocol

Understanding Fish Tagging Procedures

PIT Tags

Researchers across Washington State have deployed fish, such as sturgeon, embedded with PIT tags. These tags, resembling small glass-encased microchips, are inserted into the muscle just behind the fish's head.

Consumption Alert

If you're considering consuming the fish, be sure to check for the presence of a PIT tag. While these tags don't require return, it's essential to inspect the fish before consumption.

Acoustic Tags

In addition to PIT tags, various state and federal agencies, universities, and Indian tribes have outfitted fish species like salmon, steelhead, sea-run cutthroat trout, sturgeon, and marine fish with acoustic tags. These tags emit signals detected by specialized receivers, aiding fishery managers in tracking fish movements.


Anglers who encounter tags while cleaning their catch play a crucial role in fishery management. If you find a tag, promptly report the tag number, fish species, catch date, and location by calling (360) 902-2700. Your contribution helps researchers gather valuable data for fisheries management initiatives.

Special Use Permit

Ensuring Inclusive Fishing Opportunities

WDFW Disability Status

Anglers holding "WDFW Disability Status," as outlined in the License Information, have the opportunity to request a "Special Use Permit" to facilitate their fishing endeavors.

Customized Assistance

Special Use Permits are tailored to address the specific needs of each individual angler. These permits are designed on a case-by-case basis to accommodate the unique requirements of anglers with disabilities.

Accessibility Information

For detailed information on how to apply for a Special Use Permit and to learn more about accessible fishing options, visit our website: We are committed to ensuring that all anglers have equal access to the joys of fishing in Washington State.

Preventing Aquatic Species Invasion

Safeguarding Washington's Aquatic Ecosystems

Legal Restrictions

Transporting, introducing, or utilizing prohibited aquatic animal and plant species is strictly prohibited under state law, unless expressly authorized. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforces these regulations to protect native biodiversity.

Public Vigilance

WDFW urges citizens to remain vigilant in preventing the introduction or spread of prohibited and non-native species. Your awareness and cooperation are vital in preserving the integrity of our aquatic environments.

Reporting and Awareness

To report sightings or for further information on what actions you can take, please call toll-free at 1-888-WDFW-AIS. By promptly reporting sightings, you contribute to the collective effort in combating aquatic invasive species.

Additional Resources

For comprehensive details on aquatic invasive species and preventive measures, visit our website: Stay informed and empowered to protect Washington's aquatic habitats from invasive threats.

License Suspensions and Property Forfeitures

Upholding Compliance with Washington's Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Code

Mandatory Suspensions

Under the Revised Code of Washington Chapter 77.15, certain violations mandate the suspension of fishing privileges for up to five years. Convictions for offenses such as assaulting a Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officer, first-degree waste of fish and wildlife, harvesting endangered species, or unlawfully purchasing or using a license can result in this penalty.

Repeat Offender Protocol

Repeat offenders, defined as individuals with three convictions for any violation within a ten-year period, face a mandatory two-year suspension of all fishing and hunting privileges.

Conviction Criteria

Any uncontested notice of infraction, a finding of "committed" on an infraction, or a guilty plea is treated as a conviction. Such convictions contribute to potential suspension periods.

Consequences of Violations

Engaging in hunting or fishing activities with a suspended license leads to permanent loss of fishing and hunting privileges. Additionally, violations demonstrating willful or wanton disregard for fish or wildlife conservation may result in lifetime or extended suspensions.

Property Seizure

Property used to violate fishing and hunting regulations, or held with intent to commit violations, may be seized as evidence. Ultimately, such property may be forfeited to the state in accordance with the law.

Reporting Violations and Poaching

Ensuring Accountability in Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Emergency Reporting

In life-threatening emergencies, dial 911 for immediate assistance.

Non-Emergency Reporting Options

For non-emergency violations or incidents of poaching, utilize the following reporting channels:

  • Call the WDFW toll-free hotline at 1-877-933-9847 (1-877-WDFW-TIP).
  • Send an email to the dedicated WDFW address:
  • Anonymously text your tip to the WDFW poaching hotline at 847411 (TIP411). Start your text message with the keyword "WDFWTIP," followed by the violation information.
  • Submit a report online through the WDFW reporting portal:

Additional Reporting Options

For fish and wildlife-related crimes and incidents, contact WILDCOMM at (360) 902-2936, Option 1, or 1-877-933-9847.

Further Information

Visit for comprehensive details on reporting procedures and guidelines.

Other Enforcement Inquiries

For questions regarding lost or stolen recreational shellfish gear, report online at

Aquatic Invasive Species Reports

To report aquatic invasive species, call the toll-free hotline at 1-888-933-9247 (1-888-WDFW-AIS).

Reward Program

Information leading to the arrest of individuals violating Title 77.15 RCW, WAC 220, or WAC 232 may be eligible for a cash reward. Contributions that aid in apprehending violators or recovering lost fish, wildlife, or WDFW property could qualify for rewards. Approximately $8,000 is disbursed annually through this program.

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.