do you need a license to fish private water?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by tkww, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. tkww

    tkww Member

    I was sure a search would yield a thread about this, but no such luck. I tried reading the WDFW regs and couldn't find an answer there either.

    Does one need a license to fish private water? In this case it is a lake, land-locked, on private property.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Kaari White

    Kaari White Active Member

    I don't believe so. I've fished a number of private lakes and it's always been the case that a fishing license was not required.
  3. Dipnet

    Dipnet aka Tim Hartman

    Well, it seems that it depends.......

    Here's a copy/paste from the Help section of the WDFW website:

    Does the daily catch limit and possession limit apply to fishing on my private pond?

    • If you have an approved fish-stocking permit and pond evaluation from WDFW, in most cases state fishing licenses and regulatory requirements are exempted. The approval process includes pond site parameters and source of fish. This ensures that diseases will not be spread to wild fish populations, and that screening devices will prevent stocked fish from escaping into wild fish populations.
    • A fish stocking permit from WDFW is required to plant fish into ponds or lakes on private land in Washington State. It is illegal to move fish to a pond or stream on your land, or between any other bodies of water, without a WDFW permit.
    • However, all rules in the current Sportfishing Rules pamphlet apply to un-stocked ponds or lakes on your private property, whether the ponds or lakes were constructed or naturally created. If the pond or lake drains unimpeded into the Puget Sound or Strait of Juan de Fuca zone, it is closed to fishing unless specifically listed under the freshwater special rules as being open.
    • See WDFW's Private Fish Stocking and Transport Permits website for more information and permit applications.
    HTH! :)
    Taxon likes this.
  4. tkww

    tkww Member

    Thanks Dipnet! It is an artificial lake and it's been through the WDFW stocking permit process.
  5. Vladimir Steblina

    Vladimir Steblina Retired fishing instead of working

    You do NEED a license to fish private waters in British Columbia.
  6. GAT

    GAT Active Member

    You do not need a fishing license to fish private lake in Oregon.
  7. Greg Smith

    Greg Smith Member

    I sometimes fish pay to fish lakes in Oregon and a License is required. I called Oregon fish and Game and they confirmed that a license is required except for the family that owns the land.

  8. Scott Salzer

    Scott Salzer previously micro brew

    Why would you not get a license anyway? Is this the only water you would fish? To me, it doesn't matter - support WDFW and there efforts.

  9. GAT

    GAT Active Member

    Wow! That's new to me. I've been fishing private lakes for years and no one has ever showed up to see if we had a fishing license. I do, but I don't believe the owner knows that a fishing license is required. Of course the Man may need a warranty to search the guy's property... hmmmm.... time for some checking.

    I stand corrected. Evidently you do need to buy an Oregon Fishing License to fish a private lake... which is insane. The ODF&W has absolutely nothing to do with a private lake that is stocked by the land owner. What a racket! and B.S.
    B.Willis and triploidjunkie like this.
  10. The Dude

    The Dude Member

    No but they want your money.
  11. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

    If it was stocked by WDFW you will need one. If you fish the Tree Farm you need a license. Hell, Just buy a license at the start of the season and your ass is covered.
  12. GAT

    GAT Active Member

    I have a license. It just seems stupid for someone to buy a ODF&W license to fish a private lake that is stocked and maintained by a private individual.

    The lake has no access to any waters stocked by the ODF&W ... they have 100% nothing to do with the fish or the fishing of the lake.

    I'd like to hear their justification for requiring a fishing license to fish a private lake ... of course, this is something the State Legislation came up with and not the fish and game so I should ask them.
  13. KillerDave

    KillerDave Have camera, will travel...

    Everyone who drives is suppossed to have Automobile Insurance too but 15% of drivers do not.

    Naturally if you contact the game department, they are going to tell you that you must have a fishing license to fish.

    Practically speaking, if anyone of you fine folks from Washington want to come down and fish the private waters of the Oregon Fishing Club with me, you can do so without purchasing an Oregon License and I will guarantee your legal safety.
  14. GAT

    GAT Active Member

    Dave, The Oregon Fishing Club is excluded from the license requirement?... or do you just know the president of the club is a lawyer?:)

    If someone is driving on a public street than they should have a license. If they are driving around in a farm field than no one should give a ratzass.

    That's how I see the fishing license requirement.
  15. KillerDave

    KillerDave Have camera, will travel...

    Gene, I'm saying as a practical matter the license requirement does not matter since (1) said private lakes are located behind locked gates and (2) the ODFW has not demonstrated that they care if folks fish these private lakes with or without a license.

    In summary, strictly speaking it's been demonstrated on this thread one is suppossed to have a fishing license to fish private lakes. Practically speaking, you really don't. Taking this debate further is akin to debating the speed limit on the Moon ;)
  16. GAT

    GAT Active Member

    Dave, that's how I see it. Dumb law.
  17. gbeeman

    gbeeman Active Member

    Just because it's stupid doesn't mean we're not going to do it . . .