Washington Fishing And Hunting License Increases


I received this from Kirk Pearson, Senator 39th District and have responded and wanted to share here.
To me its seems that as increases are inevitable, these are a bit much for the return they promise.
I personally would like a little more detail on where the money goes and how it is used. Unfortunately as Washington State seems to raise, raise, raise taxes and fees, there always ends up being very little return and as we all saw this past year, decreases in opportunities to hunt and fish. Bigger government and more regulation seems to be the key here in my opinion again with very little benefit to hunters and fishermen.
I appreciate the men and women that work for the WDFW in the field and I have had some positive experiences with regards to access and such, so if the money is going to go for more officers out there enforcing laws, I could get behind an increase of some sort.
If however it is more of the same...promises without results, count this as one more reason for me to leave the state and go to one that is more friendly to outdoor activities, access and gun rights.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2017 legislative session started this week and we’re already hard at work. One of the issues I’ll be working on is a proposal from the state Department of Fish to increase hunting and license fees significantly. You can read more about it below and send me your feedback. I’ll be holding hearings on this in the weeks ahead, so I’d like to know what you think.

As always, if there is any way I can help make our state government work better for you, please don’t hesitate to send me your ideas, questions, or concerns.


Increasing Hunting and Fishing Fees: What Do You Think?

As chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee, I get a first look at new plans and budgets from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife. With each new budget year, there are usually many new ideas for how to spend the state’s money on projects or programs that they believe will help us maintain the fishing and hunting opportunities that make Washington such a great state for hunters and fishermen.

This year the Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing new increases to our fishing and hunting license fees.

According to the Department, these costs are expected to help increase production at hatcheries, such as 700,000 coho at Marblemount and Wallace hatcheries, as well as other projects that seek to enhance Washington’s natural resources and maintain the ongoing operations of the department. Many of these are ideas that could be beneficial. However, we need to count the cost before we start writing the checks.

The costs are significant. Overall, recreational and commercial fishing license fees will increase by an average of 30 percent. Recreational licenses for saltwater salmon, freshwater trout, and shellfish license would increase from $55 to $75. Columbia and Snake River salmon and steelhead licenses will go from $38 to more than $64. Saltwater salmon and sturgeon licenses from $30 to $55. An average angler could see fee costs increase by double or triple.

Hunters also will pay for the new spending with fees that will increase by 10 percent on average. A migratory bird permit will go from $15 to $25. A deer, elk, bear and cougar big game hunting license will increase from $85 to $93.

All these increased fee amounts are just for residents. For non-residents, the price increases are much higher, possibly presenting problems to our tourism industry.

This session I will be holding a public hearing on the department’s proposal for increased license fees. Knowing that most of our hunters and fishermen cannot make the trip to Olympia to testify, I would like to know your opinions on the merits of this proposal.

Please send your comments directly to me at [email protected] or by mail to my Olympia office at PO Box 40439, Olympia, WA 98504. You can find more details about the proposal on my website, www.SenatorKirkPearson.com.


Active Member
Wow, those are some substantial hikes.
If it passes there will probably be alot more elbow room for those willing to pay.


Not to be confused with Freestone
I think Kirk is spot on. The cost of fishing and hunting fees in WA has been so woefully low, for so many years, that the small increase he's suggesting should be considered a bonus. Keep in mind that your opportunity to fish is not a right, but a privilege granted to you by your caretakers. As to your question about whether this is "more of the same... promises without results"... let history be your guide and mile marker 0 your coordinate. :D


Freestoneangler, I agree that fishing is indeed a privilege, on private lands. Kirk is indeed on the spot, the increases need to be accounted for before we write the checks.

Evan Burck

Fudge Dragon
Now that I'm an Oregon resident, I'm hemming and hawing on purchasing a WA license. It just doesn't seem like it's going to be worth it with these increases for the maybe 2-3 Cowlitz trips I'll probably take this year.


Active Member
i was just sitting down to write this guy a response. now that WDFW has joined ODFW in protecting the commercial gillnet fishery on the mainstem Columbia, it seems an appropriate time to talk about fees.

who generates the most revenue would be the question that needs answering. just a quick look tells you it is not the commercial fishery but the recreational fishery and all of those businesses who support this activity. but now, as usual, raise the sport fishing fees while making fewer fish available on the Columbia. makes sense right?

the F&W departments from both states have made it clear that commercial harvest by tribal concerns or not-tribal harvesters will take precedence. that in the face of declining budgets which they want to prop up with license increases for the recreational sector. take away the fish from the recreational sector and raise fees for them. hum, do you smell the same stink i smell??


Not to be confused with Freestone
Your living and fishing in Montana. Plus you get in on the old mans license. Here in Montana the age for this is 62. Before you showed up here I was getting my fishing license for $8.00. Go back to Washington.

I'll bet that's what another Old Grouchy Bassturd said when you got here.


Active Member
An interesting comparison: Fishing fees increase 30% and hunting only 10%. I suppose one could say feeding the fisheries from hatcheries is costly as it isn't done for bears and chuckers. But who benefits?

I am still pissed royally for being excluded from using a license in 2016. Why should I chance being forced to donate funds to the state?


Saved by the buoyancy of citrus
The state lost money when it said I couldn't fish during the trout opener. Couldn't buy a license even though I just wanted to fish Rocky Ford.


I plan to wait until after North of Falcon before I purchase a license. The comment about marblemount and wallace hatchery is disturbing in that a lot of the eggs go to the natives. Maybe it is time we start charging them a hatchery fee for the fish we produce for them. Same with the commercial fisherman. I think that with what Oregon did on the Columbia we need to remove extra fees charged until they get the gill nets off the river and we recs get out fair share


Active Member
ah, that feels better. just sent this rep an email.

so WDFW takes away fishing opportunities: supports gillnetting on the main stem Columbia while charging for a recreational Columbia r. endorsement; comes up with a 3 day halibut season while giving away the recreational quota to the long line sable commercial fishing fleet; violates the state open meeting laws while, behind closed doors, rolls over to whatever the tribes dictate; and then is short in their budget so wants to stiff the very people they have stiffed via their decisions by proposing to increase license fees.

time is long overdue for a major shakeup of the management of WDFW from the director to those who mismanage all of the various programs. their decisions do impact you and me in negative ways. do i really expect this representative to have much of an impact on how things are now operating? not really but i think it is important enough that all of you folks reading this thread to respond to this guy:

[email protected]

take a few moments and share your thoughts, good, bad and ugly.

Old Man

A very Old Man
WFF Supporter
Why do they increase the game fees for big game. They don't replant the game that is killed. I don't think that I have ever seen a planting of Fawns and other big game. They don't have any game farms to raise them.

I just think that Your state is fees happy. Lets raise all our fees that way NOBODY will benefit from our resources.

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