John Urban gets a picture with his Idaho record catch-and-release Lahontan cutthroat trout.

Free fishing days in Idaho and Washington

Idaho will celebrate Free Fishing Day on Saturday, and Washington is extending its celebration through the weekend.

During the celebrations, people can fish without first buying a state-issued fishing license.


In the Evergreen State, those who participate in Free Fishing Weekend activities are exempt from the need to have a Washington State Discovery Pass, which is usually required to recreate on state-owned land.

“Free Fishing Weekend is a great opportunity to try fishing for the first time, or maybe the first time in a long time,” said Steve Caromile, Inland Fish Program manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “And if you’re already an avid angler, it’s the perfect chance to introduce someone new to the sport.”

While licenses are not required, other rules such as size limits, bag limits, catch record card requirements and area closures remain in effect.

“It’s important to account for the catch of certain species like crab, halibut, salmon, sturgeon and steelhead when and where the season is open, so catch record cards are still required,” said Kirt Hughes, fish management division manager for the department..

Most catch record cards are available for free (except halibut, which costs $5.50) at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state, according to a news release from the agency.


Idaho will allow people to fish without a license Saturday. All other fishing rules will be in effect.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is not hosting public fishing events this year as it has done in the past, but it has stocked many of the state’s lakes and reservoirs with rainbow trout.

“In the month leading up to Free Fishing Day, Fish and Game hatcheries stocked about 400,000 catchable rainbow trout in waters throughout the state,” Fish and Game Hatchery Manager Bryan Grant said.

The department stocks about 30 million fish annually for anglers, including millions of trout that are immediately available to catch, as well as millions of young salmon and steelhead destined for the ocean that will later return as adults. Spring chinook salmon seasons are open on the Little Salmon River near Riggins and on the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam, and parts of the Clearwater River are open to the harvest of jack spring chinook.

Idaho is doubling nonresident entry fees at Hells Gate and other popular state parks

Fees to enter Hells Gate and other popular state parks in Idaho have doubled for nonresidents.

The vehicle entry fee for out-of-staters is now $14 compared to $7 for Idaho residents. The change, mandated by a law passed earlier this year, took effect Thursday.

Entry fees are also doubling at Bear Lake, Farragut, Priest Lake and Round Lake state parks. The price to enter other state parks will remain at $7 for both residents and nonresidents. However, camping fees are doubling for nonresidents at Farragut, Henrys Lake, Ponderosa, Priest Lake and Round Lake state parks. A basic campsite will cost $48 for nonresidents and a site with full, recreational vehicle hookups will cost $64.

“The changes will keep Idaho competitive with surrounding states, which have similar surcharges for out-of-state guests,” said Susan Buxton, director of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. “Even with these increases, our parks are a good value given the exceptional recreational opportunities.”

Idaho State Parks set a visitation record in 2020 with nearly 7.7 million — a surge of 1.2 million over the previous high number. Of the record tally, about 30 percent of the visitors were from other states.

The new law also increased the annual motor vehicle entry fee to $80 for all users. Idaho residents are still able to purchase the $10 State Park Passport, when registering their vehicles. The passport grants holders unlimited daily entry.

Expect traffic delays on roads to and along the North Fork of the Clearwater river

PIERCE — Dust abatement work on roads to and along the North Fork of the Clearwater River is underway and may cause delays of as long as two hours during parts of the next two weeks.

The work on roads 250 and 247 began Tuesday and will continue through June 23 with the exclusion weekends. It will include blading the roads and the application of dust abatement material.

Eagle, Idaho, man again captures catch-and-release record with 18.5-inch cutthroat

John Urban, of Eagle, is the new holder of the state’s catch-and-release fishing record for Lahontan cutthroat trout.

Urban landed the 18.5-inch cutty May 28 while fishing Grasmere Reservoir in southwestern Idaho, according to a news release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Urban previously held the catch-and-release record for Lahontan cutthroat but was knocked out of the books by Stephen Veels, who caught a 17.25-incher in March.

Nonnative Lahontan cutthroat trout are stocked in several of the “Riddle Lakes” in the remote, high desert region south of Bruneau.

Enhanced-carry permit training is Sunday

LAPWAI — The Lewis Clark Wildlife Club is playing host to an enhanced-carry weapons permit training at its shooting range near here Sunday.

The training will occupy the six-bench portion of the range and the classroom all day. The rest of the range will be open for public shooting.