Free fishing while license sales are suspended

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Fish and Wildlife is offering “free fishing” days through Tuesday while the agency’s license sales system is down.

Earlier this week, Fish and Wildlife temporarily suspended the sale of fishing and hunting licenses. The agency is working with the state Office of Cyber Security to investigate vulnerability in an outside vendor’s license sales system and is working to restore sales as soon as possible.

In the meantime, Fish and Wildlife will not require anglers to have a fishing license to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in Washington state, through Tuesday, Aug. 30.

Likewise, the department will not require anglers to have a vehicle access pass to park at Fish and wildlife water access sites. Other rules, such as seasons, size limits, bag limits, and closures, will remain in effect.

Requirements for all anglers to have fishing licenses, catch record cards, and endorsements will be back in effect on Wednesday, Aug. 31.

Hunters will have to wait to buy licenses until the sales system can be restored. The agency anticipates having a sales channel available before major hunting seasons, such as archery deer, elk and cougar, begin in September.

A Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement will not be needed to fish for salmon and steelhead in open areas of the Columbia River. Anglers will not need a two-pole endorsement to fish with two-poles in select waters where two pole fishing is permitted. Crabbers also will not need a Puget Sound crab endorsement through Aug. 30.

Anglers will not be required to complete a catch record card for any salmon, steelhead, sturgeon or crab they catch from Aug. 25 through Aug. 30. Through Aug. 30, anglers will not need a Discover Pass to park at any of the nearly 700 water-access sites maintained by Fish and Wildlife. The Discover Pass will still be required to access lands managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and Washington State Parks.

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