Fishing opens

Blake Fox, 6, and his grandmother Dee Hansen, both of Mount Vernon, work on a knot May 5 on the first day of fishing at Clear Lake since the COVID-19 epidemic began.

No fishing license, no problem.

While anglers won't need a license Saturday and Sunday for this state Free Fishing Weekend, those casting their lines are reminded by the state Department of Fish & Wildlife to recreate responsibly and do their part in keeping their communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They are urged to travel only with family or other members of their immediate household, and practice physical distancing by keeping 6 feet apart.

Anglers should also make sure the destination or launch is open before setting out, seeing as some local marinas and facilities — including some tribal lands — remain closed.

Anglers will not need a two-pole endorsement this weekend to fish in waters where two-pole fishing is permitted, and vehicle access passes or Discover Passes will not be required at sites maintained by Fish & Wildlife or State Parks.

A Discover Pass  will be required, however, on state Department of Natural Resources land.

While no licenses are required during these days, rules such as size limits, bag limits, catch record card requirements and area closures remain in effect.

Halibut and razor clam harvest on the coast and intertidal shellfish harvesting in Puget Sound remain closed due to port closures and concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in local communities.

Anglers who take part in this weekend's free fishing are eligible to participate in Fish & Wildlife's 2020 Trout Fishing Derby. Participating Skagit lakes include Erie, McMurray and Sixteen.

And speaking of fishing licenses, Washington is again selling them to out-of-state residents. Washington suspended nonresident fishing license sales in late April.

The decision to resume the sales comes as many counties move toward more relaxed restrictions related to COVID-19, including some loosening of travel restrictions.

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