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Fishing highlights – May 2021
Monthly recreation opportunities by region

Heading out to fish this spring?

Let us help you find your next spot

From trout to salmon to halibut to bass, there are plenty of reasons to be on the water or the banks this spring, so we’re sharing here some WDFW resources on finding where to go fishing in Washington. In addition to the spring months, the information here can help point you in new directions all year round.

Tight lines to you, and we hope you have a safe and successful season on the water!

Stocking reports

For up-to-date stocking information to help decide your angling location, check the WDFW Catchable Trout Report for weekly updates.

For a look at the full breadth of fishing opportunity, especially if you don’t see a certain lake listed in the weekly report of larger stocked fish, check the annual Statewide Trout and Kokanee Stocking Plan, which also includes fry plants stocked the year before and meant to grow into catchable size.

Species webpages

If you’re looking to target a specific kind of fish, WDFW offers webpages dedicated to common fishable species in the state that list waterbodies where the species is found by county, as well as a wealth of information on range, description, state records, regulations, and when and how to target the species.

From rainbow trout to black crappie to largemouth bass and more, simply search for the species you’re fishing for with the search tool at the top of the WDFW homepage.

Lowland lakes

Thousands of lowland lakes in Washington provide anglers new and old with exciting, family-friendly fishing opportunities. Our lowland lakes webpage lets you search for lakes near you by name, county, and by species you want to target and also links to our Fish Washington playlist on YouTube as well as our fishing basics page.

Each individual lake webpage gives you a description of the water body and map as well as information on what’s in the water, when it’s biting, and stocking.

Fishing at Black Pine Lake. (Jason Wettstein/WDFW)


Annual statewide Trout Derby

The 2021 Trout Derby is open now through Oct. 31 at more than 100 stocked lakes. Over 70 participating businesses are offering more than 1,000 prizes valued at over $38,000.

Visit the derby information page to find a participating lake near you and help decide on a new fishing hole as well as learn more about how the derby works.

WDFW water access areas

WDFW manages hundreds of water access areas throughout the state, providing recreational access to lakes, rivers, and marine waters.

Our water access areas webpage lets you search for water access areas by name and county, along with filters for camping and for Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant boat launches, docks, parking, and restrooms in order to find the right area for you.

Clear Lake. (Rachel Blomker/WDFW)


Marine areas

The WDFW marine areas webpage lists all the state’s marine areas with links to an individual webpage for each one to help you get a line in the saltwater. The webpage also includes information on recreational salmon, bottomfish, and crab fishing.

The individual marine area webpages include a map, legal description, and major fishing areas information, as well as details on clam, mussel, and oyster beaches.

Fishing in Hoodsport. (Rachel Blomker/WDFW)


High lakes

While many won’t be accessible until later in the spring and summer, Washington’s high mountain lakes offer anglers a truly unique experience. The fishing can be spectacular and the experience is also punctuated by fantastic camping, hiking, wildlife watching and scenic vistas.

The high lakes webpage lets you search for these high-elevation gems by name, county, and species, and also offers advice on starting out, the fish you can encounter, tactics, and tackle.

You’ll also find information on “getting started” high lakes that have reasonable access allowing you to get familiar with high lakes fishing adventures before deciding to go further into the backcountry. Some of these lakes require a short hike while others can be reached by vehicle. 

Then there are overabundant fish high lakes where anglers are encouraged to take a liberal harvest to help overpopulation issues with some trout. This class of high lakes and the “getting started” high lakes each have a webpage that allows you to search for options by name, county, and species.

High lake fishing at Sunrise Lake. (Scott Fitkin)


WDFW wildlife areas

WDFW manages dozens of wildlife areas, many containing several different units, and some offer access to fishing in addition to other recreational opportunities. Our wildlife areas webpage offers a list of all the areas with links to information on available water access and fishing.

Chehalis Wildlife Area. (Janet Anthony)


Puget Sound public fishing piers

With more than 60 public piers from Tacoma to Bellingham, you don’t need a boat to get out on the water in Puget Sound. Many municipalities maintain piers for a variety of uses, including fishing.

Our Puget Sound public fishing piers webpage allows you to search for piers by county with filters for facilities including ADA access, fish-cleaning stations, lights, parking, railings, rain cover, and restrooms, as well as whether the pier is good for squid jigging.

Licensing

If you haven’t already, you can buy your fishing license today by visiting fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, calling 360-902-2464, or going to a license dealer near you. Go to wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers to find your nearest license dealer.

Freshwater fishing at Lake Union. (Rachel Blomker/WDFW)


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