Fishing

Dawson Miller, 5, gets an assist from his grandfather Gary Wachs while reeling in a rainbow trout June 1 during the Kids Fishing Derby at Heart Lake in Anacortes.

This Saturday and Sunday is Free Fishing Weekend, meaning licenses aren’t required to fish or gather shellfish in any open waters in the state.

It’s also a Washington State Parks Free weekend as well.

Also, vehicle access passes or Discover Passes won’t be required to park at any water-access site maintained by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife or in any state park. Parking permits will be required on state Department of Natural Resources land.

Anglers can use the free Fish Washington mobile app for fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area in the state. The app does not include shellfish and seaweed collection rules.

Of course, outdoor adventures don’t end with Free Fishing Weekend.

Opportunities include catching trout as the statewide lowland lake trout derby continues through Oct. 31.

More than 1,000 tagged fish were stocked in lakes throughout the state for the derby, and more than half have yet to be caught.

Now is also a great time to fish for smallmouth and largemouth bass throughout Western Washington as waters warm and fish become more active, and most area rivers are open for trout fishing.

There is a two-fish daily trout limit and a minimum size of eight inches in most rivers and streams. Some of the region’s streams have a rule requiring trout to be at least 14 inches in length to keep.

Snow is beginning to recede in the high country, which will allow for more trout fishing opportunities.

Several areas of Puget Sound may reopen to halibut fishing depending on available quota, while the non-spot shrimp season is open locally in marine areas 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Gardner), and 9 (Admiralty Inlet).

All spot shrimp caught during these non-spot shrimp fisheries must be returned to the water unharmed.

This month is a great month to view birds throughout the state, particularly at Fish & Wildlife areas and other public lands.

Hunters who applied for special big-game hunting permits for upcoming fall seasons can find out if they were chosen by checking the licensing website in late June. Winners will receive permits by mail by mid-July.

Spring season for wild turkey ended May 31, so it’s time for hunters to report their hunting activity to the state. They must make a report whether they were successful in harvesting a turkey or not.

The deadline to file for spring and fall seasons is Jan. 31.

— Reporter Vince Richardson: 360-416-2181, vrichardson@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Sports_SVH, Facebook.com/vincereports.

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