Where To Buy a Fishing License in Washington State

FishfinderHQ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

If you’re planning a fishing trip, you probably know that you need a license.

These permits not only define the species and fishing spots, but the fees levied on acquiring them also helps with environmental conservation.

The question is, where can a Washington  State resident get this important document?

The primary source of fishing licenses is the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW).

However, you can also get them online and from local fishing equipment dealers.

Read on to discover where you can purchase a Washington state fishing license.


The first place you can buy a fishing license is on the Department of Fish and Wildlife website, which is accessible through WDFW.gov or DFW.gov

Once you access the site, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the ‘Licensing & Permits’ tab on top of the homepage. 
  2. On the pop-up menu that appears, click on the Fishing and shellfishing section. Here, you’ll get detailed information about  the types, requirements  and fees of obtaining fishing permits in Washington State. 
  3. To purchase your license, click on fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov. It’s worth noting that this page isn’t fully compatible with some web browsers.
  4. The next step involves creating a new or logging in into an existing account. You need a Wild ID to own an account. If you’re visiting the site for the first time, you must first purchase the Wild ID from a physical store.
  5. After signing in, choose your desired license.

While buying online has its convenience, you may have to wait for up to 10 days before the license is mailed to your physical address. 

For this reason, ensure that you start your application at least two weeks before your fishing trip.

Licensed Dealers

If you want to buy your license from physical stores, here are the steps you need to follow.

  1. Just like with an online application, the process starts with visiting the WDFW website.
  2. From the Licensing and Permits toolbar, click on Licensed Dealers. 
  3. You’ll see a form that prompts you to search for dealers near you by using Business Name, City and County. 
  4. Type in your county, city, or zip code to get the addresses  for local WDFW accredited license dealers.
  5. Based on the search results, visit the nearest vendor to purchase your fishing license.

Besides the dealers listed on the WDFW website, you can also obtain a permit from selected Walmart stores.

Telephone  Call

Another way to purchase a license is by using a telephone.

This approach offers the same experience as online applications, but it’s only available on weekdays during business hours.

You also have to apply early so that the permit gets mailed in time.

Types of Fishing Licenses

Get Outdoors Washington LicenseYou get a yearly fishing license, specific endorsements  and a permit for hunting particular species. Available to residents only.$236.18
Combination Washington Fishing LicenseYou can fish in freshwater and saltwater bodies.Residents: $19.05 for senior citizens (70 years plus) and $55.35 for those aged between 15 and 69.Non-residents: $124.65
Shellfish/Seaweed Washington Fishing LicenseYou can fish for mussels, oysters, razor clams, and red rock crab.Residents: $7.50 for senior citizens and $17.50 for others.Non-residents: $36.10
Saltwater Washington Fishing LicenseYou can only fish in saltwater.Residents: $8.05 for older adults and $30.05 for others. Non-residents: $59.75
Freshwater Washington Fishing LicenseYou can only fish in freshwater bodies.Residents: $7.50 for senior citizens and $29.50 for others.Non-residents: $84.50

Can I Get a Discount? 

You might qualify for discounts if you meet the following criteria:

  • Residents and non-residents veterans with a disability  related to their service.
  • Residents with visual impairments, use a wheelchair or have developmental disability.

Wrapping Up 

You must have a license to fish in Washington State. This rule applies to every person aged 15 or more.

Notably, you don’t need a permit to harvest bullfrogs, carp, crawfish, and relic shells.

If your target is halibut, salmon, steelhead, or sturgeon, you must carry a catch record track on every fishing trip to keep a log of your haul. 

This is applicable to every angler, regardless of age.

Even if you return home empty-handed, you must return the catch record to the WDFW before the stipulated deadline.