Washington department of fish and wildlife – All you should know

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife manages over 123 million acres of fish, wildlife, and plants which is over 40% of Washington state. They work to protect our fish and wildlife for the benefit and enjoyment of all citizens.

Whether you hunt, fish, camp, or hike in an area managed by the department of fish and wildlife, your support is important to providing programs that maintain healthy fish and wildlife populations for generations to come.

Also, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is your source for hunting, fishing, and boating information, hunter education, and conservation programs. It is also a great destination for outdoor recreation with 25 state parks, 90-plus wildlife area lands, and nearly 200 fish hatcheries and hatchery/rearing ponds.

You can visit fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov to learn about fishing seasons, 2nd Amendment-friendly opportunities for hunting big game in Washington State, and many conservation programs that help Washington residents enjoy their natural resources.

Fact about Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Washington department of fish and wildlife

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, (WDFW), is a state agency dedicated to protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the people of Washington.

Also, the WDFW provides stewardship for over 1.2 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, consisting primarily of lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. WDFW’s mission is: “Working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance Washington’s fish and wildlife and habitats for future generations.”

In addition, they are responsible for protecting and enhancing the diversity and abundance of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through cooperative management with landowners, industry, tribes, and all levels of government.

Furthermore, the department was created in 1923 to address fish and wildlife policy at the time when harvest regulations were being established. Today, the department is working to ensure that fish and wildlife populations can be sustained for future generations.

Washington Fish and Game regulations

Washington department of fish and wildlife

The Washington Fish and Wildlife has regulations for almost every type of hunting, fishing, and trapping activity that takes place in Washington State. While they have written these regulations into short form in the law books available to be checked out at many libraries and sporting goods stores across Washington State.

Also, the organization has a comprehensive easy-to-read booklet (published by IR&A) to assist you in understanding what is legal and what is illegal.

In addition, the WDFW has some of the finest fish, deer, and elk hunting opportunities in the country. They provide a wide variety of fish species that have been stocked or naturally reproducing: bass, bullhead catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, northern pikeminnow, pickerel, rainbow trout, roach, and yellow perch.

There are nearly 200 wildlife management units throughout the state that provide a home to over 150 different species of wildlife including deer, elk, and upland game birds. If you love nature and want to enjoy what nature has provided in Washington state, Washington Fish and Wildlife is your ticket for outdoor adventure. You must know the rule and abide by it for a successful hunting experience.

WDFW clamming

Washington department of fish and wildlife

WDFW clamming is a great family event to enjoy the outdoors. Each year, more than 5 million people gather clams and other shellfish along Washington’s coast, in rivers, and on lakes. Clamming is one of the most popular methods of harvesting seafood in Washington state.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife issues over 500,000 recreational clamming licenses each year. They commit to the stewardship of all aquatic species, including geoduck, by regulating and protecting from overharvesting for this important fishery.

Also, Clamming is an easy, inexpensive, and safe way to enjoy the outdoors. It’s also an activity that provides a fun family or group outing with very little cost. Clamming requires virtually no skill and is physically easy for anyone even kids as long as they are allowed in the hunting zone.

WDFW crabbing

Washington department of fish and wildlife

Washingtonians have a long tradition of crabbing, but you don’t have to be a state native to get in on the action! Whether you’re a first-timer or an old pro, WDFW will help you have the best possible experience crabbing.

There you get to find out about the crabbing season and the rules and regulations you need to follow for a successful crabbing. Therefore, before heading out, make sure you’re familiar with these rules, regulations, and tips. Always check to see if there are any crabbing closures before heading out on any body of water in Washington.

When is crabbing season in Washington?

March-June is the peak season for crabbing in Washington State and is also the easiest time to find your favorite crab, particularly Dungeness. With WDFW you can get all the information on how to prepare, what to expect and how to find the best spots.

Also, Crabbing season extends from about early or mid-May through about October. This is when the crabs become available to the crabber.

In addition, crabbing season is timed with the migration of the female crabs from deep waters to coastal shallows where they release their eggs into the ocean currents to hatch and grow, but before they molt (shed their shell) and return to deeper waters. The best time of day to catch crabs depends on what method of crabbing you use.

Best crabbing spots in Washington state

Having a great place to select your crabbing spot is the best thing to have while crabbing. There are lots of places where a person can go crabbing. Most of these locations are coastal areas near sea waters. If a person is not near such locations, then freshwater can be used for crabbing too.

In Washington State, crabbing can be considered a favorite activity of most people on the west coast. Although it may be an old experience, it’s still new and exciting for those who have never tried it before. Crabs in this region come in different shapes and sizes because of the climatic differences of each region and each area also produces different kinds of crabs.

As one of the largest crabbing states in the USA, there is no shortage of locations to get your fresh Texas-style seafood. The Puget Sound and San Juan Islands are also prime areas for crabbing as well as some of the more populated regions such as Seattle and Everett.

WDFW fishing license

You can get the WDFW fishing license online and download it immediately. This is a non-expiring license valid for all freshwater fishing in Washington by people age 16 or older. The Washington fishing license includes Columbia River Salmon and features new protection against counterfeits.

You are welcome to reprint, copy, or hand it out, but please do not alter the original document or remove any language or symbols including signatures or dates, as they are security features.

All Washington residents and visitors fishing, crabbing, or clamming in these areas must have a license unless they are between the ages of 12 and 15 and fishing only for shore species. Licenses are not required for children under 12 years old fishing in private waters of less than five acres or when fishing in state parks or on the Columbia River.

Some lakes host annual events such as tournaments that may require additional licenses. A list of those lakes is available at WDFW. In addition, a bald eagle viewing license is required to view or photograph bald eagles.

Wdfw emergency rules

Recreational fishing and hunting are permitted on the lands of Washington’s state-managed fish and wildlife areas. All visitors follow the rules of Washington’s Fish and Wildlife Commission, which are in place to ensure adequate fish and wildlife populations for generations of present and future sportsmen.

The rules protect both the resource and the public by providing opportunities for a variety of recreational fishing/hunting experiences.


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is a state agency that helps protect fish and wildlife, maintain sustainable fish and wildlife populations and provide recreational opportunities on lands and waters managed by the department. WDFW manages 178 state-owned fish hatcheries, 147 state parks, eight aquatic education centers, three freshwater salmon hatcheries, and one hatchery for spring chinook salmon and steelhead.