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Return your fishing catch record cards to aid our science

The deadline for returning your fishing catch record cards to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is fast approaching, so don’t miss out on this chance to help inform our management of the fisheries that are most important to you.

The catch record card is an important management tool for estimating the recreational catch of salmon, hatchery steelhead, sturgeon, halibut and Puget Sound Dungeness crab.

The 2021-2022 catch record cards for salmon, hatchery steelhead, sturgeon, and halibut are due postmarked by April 30.

How it works 

The law requires that a catch record card be in your possession when you are fishing for these species. After you catch a fish or crab, you need to enter that catch on your catch record card before continuing to fish. All anglers are required to return their cards by the appropriate deadline, even if you did not catch anything.

If you’re fishing for salmon, hatchery steelhead, sturgeon, halibut, or Puget Sound Dungeness crab, your license will come with a catch record card to track your harvest. Everyone, including those younger than 15, must carry a catch record card when fishing.

For more details, see these state laws governing catch record cards: WAC 220-310-020 and WAC 220-310-010.

The cards

There are three different catch record cards:

Fish catch record card: This card is issued at no cost with annual and temporary fishing licenses, excluding the shellfish/seaweed and razor clam license, and should be used if fishing for salmon, hatchery steelhead, or sturgeon. 

Halibut catch record card: This card is only needed if you will be fishing for halibut. The catch record card is issued when the $5.50 fee is paid. 

Puget Sound Dungeness crab catch record card: This card is issued at no charge with the Puget Sound crab endorsement. There is a catch record card for summer and one for fall/winter.

Frequently asked questions

How do I fill out my catch record card?

See these complete instructions and a full list of catch area codes.

When are the catch record cards due?

Fish catch cards are due by April 30, following the end of the license year.

Summer crab cards are due by Oct. 1, following the end of the summer season.

Winter crab cards are due by Feb. 1, following the end of the winter season.

Where do I return my catch record card?

Please mail your cards to:

PO Box 43142
Olympia, WA 98504-3142

Can I report my catch data online?

At this time, online reporting is not available for fish catch reports; those cards must be mailed in.

Crab catch reports can be entered using WDFW’s online licensing system. The reporting site is open from the end of the crab season through the reporting deadline.

Why must I return my catch record card if I didn’t catch anything?

The post-season sport harvest estimates are based on the average number of fish or crab per card. Cards with zero catch are included in the average; otherwise the numbers would be inflated.

I lost my catch record card. What do I do?

You’ll still need to report your catch information by the due date, even if you lost your card. If you no longer have your card, mail the information requested below to:

PO Box 43142
Olympia, WA 98504-3142

Or send the catch report by email to: [email protected]

Provide the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Date of birth
  • WILD identification number found on your license if you know it
  • Telephone number or email address so we can contact you with questions
  • All retained salmon, sturgeon, hatchery steelhead, Dungeness crab and halibut catch information (see complete instructions on how to fill out your catch record card)

For more information on catch record cards, you can visit the webpages below. Thank you for taking the time to report your catch and aid our management of our state’s valuable fisheries!

Catch record cards
Catch reporting

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