Lobster fishing in Washington occurs in freshwater areas throughout the state, as the local crayfish, or freshwater lobster, are found statewide in many lakes, rivers and streams. Before heading out to fish, you must be aware of state regulations.
All crayfish species may be harvested in Washington. Native crayfish are recognized by their solid brown coloring, and smooth claws and backs. During the fishing season, you may harvest up to 10 pounds of native lobsters a day that are at least 3-1/4 inches long and do not have young or eggs attached. Non-native species typically have bumps on their claws and may be taken without restriction, though they must be dead before leaving the vicinity of the body of water.
No license is required to catch lobster in Washington, though you may use only up to five units of fishing gear, such as pots, ring nets or star traps, per day to catch crayfish. Washington lobsters often are found in safe areas, such as behind rocks or in seaweed, and the use of fresh fish bits as bait often is effective.
While the exact season dates vary by year, lobster fishing is prohibited in the winter months. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife provides the annual dates on its website.
- crayfish image by imrek from Fotolia.com