The USDA Forest Service will waive fees at day-use recreation sites in Washington and Oregon this Saturday, June 9, in recognition of National Get Outdoors Day.
National Get Outdoors Day is intended to encourage Americans, particularly youth, to seek healthy, active outdoor lives and embrace our parks, forests, refuges, and other public lands and waters.
“The Pacific Northwest is blessed with incredible natural beauty and world-class recreation opportunities,” said Regional Forester Jim Peña. “Whatever your interest or skill level, there’s something for everyone, so get outdoors and enjoy your public lands!”
This fee waiver includes many picnic areas, boat launches, trailheads, and visitor centers. Concession operations will continue to charge fees unless the permit holder wishes to participate. Fees for camping, cabin rentals, heritage expeditions, or other permits still apply.
In addition, it is Free Fishing Weekend and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife said that they are preparing for thousands of Washingtonians to take part in the weekend when no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in the state.
No vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required during Free Fishing Weekend to park at any of the nearly 700 water-access sites maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
A Discover Pass will also not be required on Washington State Parks lands throughout the weekend, but will be required on DNR lands both days.
“If you haven’t fished in Washington, or want to introduce fishing to someone new to the sport, this is the weekend to get out there,” said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW inland fish program manager.
Options available on Free Fishing Weekend include:
- Trout in lowland lakes, and in the many rivers opening to trout fishing June 2 throughout the state
- Lingcod on the coast.
- Bass, crappie, perch and other warmwater fish biting in lakes throughout Washington.
- Shad on the Columbia River.
- Hatchery steelhead on rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.
New anglers should check online for the “Fish Washington” feature at the department’s homepage (http://wdfw.wa.gov). The site provides details on lowland lake fishing, high lake fishing and marine area opportunities. Catchable trout stocking details, by county and lake, are available in the weekly stocking report on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/.
For those who want even more fishing advice, the Fish Washington video page (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/videos) provides “how to” fishing videos designed to introduce techniques to both new and seasoned anglers.
Anglers who take part in free fishing weekend can also participate in the department’s 2018 Trout Fishing Derby and redeem green tags from fish caught over the weekend. Interested anglers should check for details online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/derby.
Before heading out, anglers should also check the current fishing regulations valid through June at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations. In addition, the free “Fish Washington” app, available on Google Play, Apple’s App store and WDFW’s website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/mobile_app.html), is designed to convey up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area in the state. The exception, for now, is the app does not yet include information on shellfish and seaweed collection rules.
While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, it’s still important to check the regulations for other rules such as size limits, bag limits, catch record card requirements and area closures that will still be in effect, said Thiesfeld.
Catch record cards, required for some species, are available free at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. See http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors on the WDFW website to locate a license dealer.