Northwest Washington is all about outdoor recreation. With water to the west, mountains to the east, and plenty of trails, lakes, and forests in between, it’s easy to fill every weekend with a different adventure. In these pages we look at a few ways to get out and play in the North Sound, exploring where to go, what to bring, and how to gear up. From hiking and cycling to fishing, boating, and glamping, options abound for everyone, regardless of experience or skill level.
Photo by Claudia Cooper
- Mellow: Bagley Lakes Loop, 2 mi., 150 ft. gain
- Moderate: Chain Lakes Loop, 6.5 mi., 1,800 ft. gain
- Thigh-buster: Yellow Aster Butte, 8.5 mi., 2,550 ft. gain
- Overnight Favorite: Lake Ann, 8.2 mi. round-trip, 1,900 ft. Gain
- ADA Accessible: Fire & Ice Interpretive Loop, .5 mi. , Artist Ridge Loop, 1 mi.
North Cascades National Park Area
- Mellow: Thunder Knob, 3.6 mi., 635 ft. gain
- Moderate: Heather – Maple Pass Loop, 7.2 mi., 2,000 ft. gain
- Thigh-buster Hidden Lake Lookout, 8 mi., 3,300 ft. gain
- Overnight Favorite: East Bank Trail, multiple campsites so distance and elevation vary. You can also boat-in to some sites.
- ADA Accessible: Sterling Munro Boardwalk Overlook, 330 ft. , Rainy Lake Trail, 2 mi.
- Mellow: Chuckanut Falls, 2.6 mi., 640 ft. gain
- Moderate: Pine & Cedar Lakes, 5 mi., 1,400 ft. gain
- Moderate: Raptor Ridge, 8 mi., 1,500 ft. gain
- Overnight Favorite: Lily & Lizard Lakes, 7.15 mi. loop, 1,400 ft. gain
Make It a Date
Oyster to Oysters
Journey up the ever-popular Oyster Dome trail and then head to town for oysters at Rock and Rye Oyster House.
Chuckanuts to Chuckanut
Romp around the Chuckanuts and then head to Chuckanut Brewery for a pint of award-winning beer.
Baker to Bakery
Get an early start hiking at Mount Baker and then head to Deming for an afternoon pick-me-up at Wake ‘N Bakery. Recharge with iced coffee and a scratch-made scone. Reverse the flow and fuel up at the bakery before hitting the trails.
Permits & Passes
Washington State Parks: Deception Pass State Park, Rockport State Park, Larrabee State Park, Moran State Park, Lime Kiln Point State Park, etc.
- What you need: Discover Pass: $35/year, $11.50/day. Order online at store.discoverpass.wa.gov or by phone at 844.271.7041.
National Parks: Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park (no entry pass is needed for North Cascades National Park)
- What you need: America the Beautiful Pass: $80/year; $80/life or $20/year for seniors; free lifetime pass for permanently handicapped people; free annual pass for military and 4th graders. Order online at store.usgs.gov/pass, call 888-ASK-USGS, or buy in-person at any national park visitor’s center.
U.S. Forest Service: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Olympic National Forest, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, etc.
- What you need: Pacific Northwest Region Forest Pass: $30/year, $5/day. Order online at store.usgs.gov/forest-pass, call 888-ASK-USGS, or buy in-person at any forest service visitor information center.
Climbing & Mountaineering Guide Services
Photo by Gerry Chike
Baker Mountain Guides
For those wanting to take the next step (up a mountain), Baker Mountain Guides offers adventures and courses for beginners and pros alike. While most courses take place on Mount Baker or Mount Erie, there are some trips to Utah, B.C., and beyond. Learn how to navigate glaciers, rock climb, and more. 214 W. Holly St., Bellingham, 360.319.1160, bakermountainguides.com
American Alpine Institute
AAI offers both group and private guidance in local areas as well as across the country and even the globe. Summit nearby mountains like Baker and Shuksan or go on expeditions in Europe, Africa, or as far as Antarctica. Offerings include treks, tours, and courses in alpine climbing, rock climbing, ice climbing, and backpacking. 1515 12th St., Bellingham, 360.671.1505, alpineinstitute.com
Cycling & Mountain Biking
Where to Go:
Kick Up Some Dust at Galbraith
- Mellow: 2 ½, 2,983 ft., -95 ft. descent, 48 ft. gain
- Moderate: Happy Hour, 1 mi., -656 ft. descent, 46 ft. gain
- For the Pros: Cougar Ridge, 2 mi., -1,010 ft. descent, 206 ft. gain
Bellingham Area Bike Trails
- Short and Sweet: Cornwall Park Trails, 1.5 mi.
- Moderate Length: Whatcom Falls Park Trails, 3.5 mi.
- Longer Treks: Interurban Trail, 7 mi.
Photo by Claudia Cooper
This coffee shop/bike store is for those who want to get up and go. Find a brand-new commuting, touring, or adventure bike, or come in for a shift or brake adjustment and enjoy a beverage while you wait. 120 Prospect St., Bellingham, cafe-velo.cc
Earl’s Bike Shop
At Earl’s, you’ll find a large selection of both new and consignment bikes, parts, tires, accessories, and helmets. Open for over a decade, this shop offers repair service, bike expertise, and “Trade in Trade Up” for kid’s bikes. 2827 Meridian St., Bellingham, earlsbicycle.com
Fanatik Bike Co.
Find a brand-new bike or make your own with Fanatik’s custom build services. Simply pick a brand, size, and style. If you’re not looking to invest, Fanatik also offers rentals and various repair and tune-up services. 1812 N. State St., Bellingham, fanatikbike.com
Photo by Kelly Pearce
The Kona Bike Shop
Kona combines 30 years of sales and service expertise, offering bikes specifically designed for the Pacific Northwest’s rugged terrain. Stop by their flagship store in Bellingham or visit online to shop for mountain bikes, road/gravel bikes, and kid’s bikes. 1622 N. State St., Bellingham, konabikes.com
The Hub Community Bike Shop
The hub is for bicycle novices and pros alike. Much more than a bike shop and repair service, the hub offers a community space for people to work on their own bike and connect with fellow cycling enthusiasts. 110 Ohio St., Bellingham, thebikehub.org
Skagit Cycle Center
This local chain offers decades of biking expertise, plus the largest selection of bicycles, clothing, and parts in Skagit Valley. Whether you’re in need of a new bike, part, or a stylish helmet, this store has got you covered. 1620 Commercial Ave., Anacortes, skagitcyclecenter.com
Annual Bike Rides
Tour de Whatcom
Mark your calendar because this annual summer ride takes place on Saturday, July 18! Choose from multiple routes spanning from 22 to 100 miles. All routes begin in downtown Bellingham and take the rider through the county for stunning views of the water and surrounding farmland. The post-ride party is at Boundary Bay, with all proceeds benefiting local charities. tourdewhatcom.com
While this ride is temporarily on hold due to COVID-19, The Chuckanut Classic is a scenic ride through Bellingham — with routes from 25 to 100 miles. For more rides, check out the Mount Baker Bicycle Club, a nonprofit group for bike enthusiasts. The club plans to resume activities once restrictions lift. chuckanutclassic.org
This multi-activity race in September is a celebration of the region’s wild salmon, featuring nearly 10 miles of running, 24 miles of biking (both mountain and road), and 3.6 miles of paddling. Join alone or as a team, pick a “Spawner” identity, and get ready to race. bellinghamtraverse.com
5 Tips for Mountain Bike Beginners
WRITTEN BY CHRISTOPHER REBULA, REBULA MOUNTAIN BIKES
- Remember your safety gear. A well-fitting and adjusted helmet, glasses, and biking gloves are essential. Knee pads are a great extra layer of protection.
- Wear the right type of clothing. If you plan to bike at dawn or dusk, be sure to wear reflective clothing. Dress for the weather, too. The last thing you want is to wear too many layers and have to constantly stop to dress down. For summer riding, a pair of shorts, a dry-fit tee, and comfortable socks should do the trick! Wear sturdy shoes (no sandals) with a solid, grippy sole.
- Make sure your bike is ready to go. Whether it is a borrowed bike, used bike, or brand-new bike, make sure it’s tuned by a trusted professional. Have a front and tail light if you plan on riding when it’s dark, and be sure to check your tire pressure before each ride.
- Study the trail. It’s important to learn the rules of the trail and understand the environment. Walking the terrain beforehand is a great way to assess what parts of the trail you might want to walk, and you’ll have a better sense of what to expect when you ride.
- Take it easy, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Mountain biking gets better and better as your skills and confidence grow. However, it’s important that your confidence doesn’t get too far ahead of your skill level. If you’re looking for some extra help, coaching is readily available, ranging from in-person clinics to online curriculums about body positioning, terrain assessment, and basic braking.
Camping & Glamping
- Cranberry Lake Campground – Deception Pass
- Colonial Creek Campground – North Cascades National Park
- Moran State Park Campground – Orcas Island
- San Juan County Park – Friday Harbor
- Spencer Spit State Park – Lopez Island
Breathtaking Backcountry Sites
- Hidden Lake Lookout – North Cascades National Park
- Lake Ann – Mt. Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest
- Sahale Glacier – North Cascades National Park
- Skyline Divide – Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
- Gothic Basin – Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Photo courtesy of Leanto
Want the experience of roughing it without the roughness? Glamping is a great way to feel close to the outdoors without sacrificing creature comforts. Here a few places to check out:
Get a glamorous taste of San Juan Island at Lakedale Resort. Choose from a Canvas Cabin or Canvas Cottage, both capable of sleeping up to four people. In the cabin you’ll find a queen bed and futon, while the cottage has a king bed and daybed sleeper. While the cabins lack water and electricity, a bathhouse with showers and toilets is only a short walk away. The cottages are a little fancier, with power, running, water, and — wait for it — a chandelier. Most importantly, all guests have access to the resort’s beautiful lakes, boat rentals, games, and activities.
4313 Roche Harbor Rd., Friday Harbor, 800.617.2267, lakedale.com
Photo Courtesy of Lakedale Resort
West Beach Resort is situated on the west side of Orcas Island, known for sunny skies and epic sunsets over the ocean. Take your pick of canvas tent cabins — some with an ocean view. Tents sleep up to four and come with a queen bed, futon, private deck, grill, and firepit. All utensils, toiletries, linens, and even firewood are included, so you can pack light. The tents are only a quick walk to a shower house with toilets and sinks. While you’re there, take advantage of the resort’s boat, canoe, and kayak rentals. 190 Waterfront Way, Eastsound, 877.937.8224, westbeachresort.com
Take the “easy way out” with Leanto on Orcas Island. Leanto offers five stunning glamp sites that let you slumber in style in the heart of Moran State Park. The canvas tents have beds and various tap-lights, lanterns, and flashlights to help you see at night. Each guest has access to the park’s showers, flush toilets, and water spigots. Most importantly, you’re in the heart of the park, with dozens of miles of hiking, five freshwater lakes, and 5,000 acres of pure Washington wilderness. 3572 Olga Rd., Campsites located in the South End Loop, Olga, 360.298.1684, stayleanto.com
Get your glamp on at Willowbrook Manor English Tea House and Chamomile Farm in Skagit Valley. Their High Camp is described as robust and regal, with a feeling of a British safari tent tucked away in the trees. Guests at High Camp enjoy their own patio with a gas fire pit, for cozy nights under the stars. New this summer is Cottage Camp, with sweeping views of Skagit Valley with Sauk Mountain in the distance. Both sites are fully furnished with wall-to-wall carpet, a fireplace, kitchenette, and running water. The best part? Tea and scones are served every morning, either under a tea tent or delivered straight to your camp. All guests also enjoy a 30% discount on Willowbrook’s bike tours, and have access to the manor’s beautiful gardens and grounds. 27420 Minkler Rd., Sedro-Woolley, 360.218.4585
Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing, & SUPing
7 Rules for Beginners…From a World Record Paddler
Brandon Nelson of Bellingham’s Brandon Nelson Partners doesn’t just broker homes, he breaks records. In 2013, Nelson broke the Guiness Book of World Record for the longest distance paddled in 24 hours, journeying around Lake Padden for a total of 151.87 miles. Here are his rules for beginner paddlers:
Paddling is what drew my wife Heather and I to Bellingham almost 20 years ago. The quality and quantity of fresh- and saltwater opportunities to launch a paddle-craft are practically endless. That said, if you’re new to paddling, there are some critically important safety rules that are unique to the Pacific Northwest. Follow these as you build your skills, and you can enjoy a lifetime of safe, memorable paddling.
Photo Courtesy of Heather Nelson
Rule 1: If you’ve never paddled before, you absolutely must start by trying it with an experienced person on calm water and stay very close to shore. If you have a stable enough craft, learn how to hold and use your paddle correctly, and understand the basics of launching, you will likely go on to love the sport. To “just wing it” is to put yourself at risk and likely to miss out on a rewarding first time paddling.
Rule 2: Buddy up! Paddling as a beginner is not a solo endeavor. Always be with another (ideally experienced) person.
Rule 3: Choose a paddle-craft that won’t sink. Seriously. Canoes and kayaks with open cockpits come with a very high risk factor: if flipped over, they fill with water and become immovable. In contrast, sit-on-top kayaks and SUPs don’t take on water and can be easily righted and re-mounted. That said… they come with a different risk factor. Hence, rule #4…
Rule 4: Use a leash! If you’re paddling a sit-on-top or a SUP, it won’t take on water or sink if you capsize, but it can and will blow away from you if it’s windy. A paddlecraft in the wind can escape your reach before you even look up. To prevent this, always attach yourself to the craft with a leash. If I could share only one rule, it is to always use a leash.
Rule 5: Prepare for weather. Our weather changes, often by the minute. Wind and waves form quickly and anyone, at any skill level, can end up in the water. Never forget this or take it for granted.
Rule 6: Our waters here are cold year-round. Even lake water. If you end up in the water for any reason, a countdown timer starts before hypothermia sets in. To mitigate risk, dress properly, meaning dress for immersion.
Rule 7: The shore is your friend. As a beginner, the closer to shore you stay, the more margin of safety you have. If things deteriorate, be it the weather or your gear, you’re seconds from the safety of land. Only as your skills and experience grow should you consider crossings or venture offshore. — Brandon Nelson
Boat Launches & Paddle Locations
Boating in Whatcom
In Bellingham, you’ll have no issue finding a place to hit the water, with dozens of public and private boat launches. Squalicum Harbor is open to the public year-round, with multiple paved ramps that allow for launching all sizes of trailer boats. Blaine Harbor offers a two-lane launch right near the border, giving access to the Straits of Georgia and the Canadian Gulf Islands. While only open April through October, the launch in Fairhaven is a perfect place to hand-launch smaller boats and vessels.
San Juan Sailing
There’s no better way to see the San Juans than by boat. On the north side, pay a small fee to launch at Roche Harbor. For a free launch, plus kayaking, BBQ, and recreational opportunities, stop by Jackson Beach at the Port of Friday Harbor, located only two miles from the ferry landing. The boat launch at San Juan County Park is accompanied by campsites, rocky bluffs, and gravel beaches with views of San Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island.
Equipment Rental & Community Resources
Boating & Sailing
Photo Courtesy of Bellingham Bay Community Boating Center
Bellingham Bay Community Boating Center
Located in Fairhaven, the Community Boating Center is a nonprofit dedicated to boating safety, education, and marine stewardship. Want to try your hand at sailing? This summer, the center is offering two-hour sunset sails along Bellingham Bay for $55 per person. 555 Harris Ave., Bellingham, boatingcenter.org
Bellingham Yacht Club
This volunteer club is Bellingham’s oldest yacht club, boasting nearly 400 members. For aficionados and novices alike, this club offers opportunities for all things boating, from education to cruising, racing, and programs for kids, with events for both sail and power boats. The club always welcomes new members, and requires neither boat ownership nor sponsors. 2625 S. Harbor Loop, Bellingham, byc.org
Photo Courtesy of Bellingham Yacht Club
Gato Verde Adventure Sailing
Gato Verde offers customized boat tours, sailing lessons, and overnight trips. Enjoy a short sunset cruise or go all in with an overnight voyage to see whales…and hear them. Gato Verdre has an amplified hydrophone to let you listen in on underwater whale noises. 355 Harris Ave., Bellingham, gatoverde.com
Griffin Bay Adventures
New to the boating and yachting scene? Explore the waters with ease, with the help of Griffin Bay Adventures. Lessons are hands-on and interactive, with skippered charters throughout the San Juans and Gulf Islands. 50 Malcolm St., #605 B, Friday Harbor, griffinbayadventures.com
San Juan Sailing
San Juan Sailing has more than 30 years of experience cruising the Salish Sea. Rated best in customer service and charter value by Cruising World, this sailing organization offers instruction, charters, and brokerage. 2615 S. Harbor Loop, Ste. 1, Bellingham, sanjuansailing.com
Kayaking, Canoeing, Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Photo by Dean Davidson
Bloedel Boat Rentals
Located right next to Bloedel Donovan Park and Boat Launch, Bloedel Boat Rentals offers all the equipment you need for kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Whatcom. Don’t forget to grab a snack from the concession stand while you’re there. 2200 Electric Ave., Bellingham, bloedelboatrentals.com
Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures
This kayaking company offers unique evening, half-day, full-day, and multi-day guided trips through Bellingham, Anacortes, and Orcas Island waters. Trips run from May through September. 909 Squalicum Way, Ste. 122, Bellingham, moondancekayak.com
Sea Quest Kayak Expeditions
If you’re looking to kayak with Killer Whales, we’ve got a quest for you. Sea Quest offers kayak expeditions through the San Juans, with natural history experts and knowledgeable guides. Want to venture alone? They also offer kayak rentals. San Juan Islands, sea-quest-kayak.com
Whatcom Association of Kayak Enthusiasts
This nonprofit, often referred to as WAKE, brings together lovers of sea and whitewater kayaking for events, group paddles, and training. During the off season, the club meets every third Tuesday. Check the website for meeting and event scheduling from June-August. wakekayak.org
Boater Education Card/ Safe Boating Card
Boaters in Washington, with the exception of those born before 1955, are required to obtain a Washington State Boater Education Card when operating a boat with 15 or more horsepower. Classes can be taken online or through organizations like the U.S. Power Squadron and the U.S. Coast Guard. boat.wa.gov
Boating Laws & Safety
Safety is an important part of any watercraft activity. The Adventures in Boating Washington Handbook details everything you need to know before you set sail, including Washington boating laws and instruction on how to fuel up, secure a boat to a trailer, launch, and handle emergencies. You can purchase the book online at boat-ed.com/washington/handbook.
Boats more than 16 feet in length with motors more than 10 horsepower have to be registered with the Washington State Department of Licensing. The registration cards and decals are required to be displayed on your vessel whenever it’s in use. boat.wa.gov
For all your hiking needs, head to Backcountry Essentials in downtown Bellingham. From boots and packs to water filters and trekking poles, they have everything you need to set out on your next adventure. They even have a rental shop, perfect for trying out gear before buying. The staff is always there for tips, advice, or to help plan your next adventure. 214 W. Holly St., Bellingham, 360.543.5678, backcountryessentials.net
Whether you’re into hiking, fishing, shellfishing, skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, hunting, or just need some sturdy workwear or rain gear, Yeager’s is your go-to sporting goods store. Their downstairs is filled with toys, gifts, and home goods, meaning you’ll likely find something great for the indoors, too. 3101 Northwest Ave., Bellingham, 360.733.1080, yeagerssportinggoods.com
Heading into the North Cascades? Stop by Northwest Mountain Shop & Guides in Sedro-Woolley for all your adventure needs. The rental shop also offers everything from climbing harnesses and bear canisters to tents, sleeping bags, and stoves. 360.854.8761, nwmountainshop.com
In Burlington, Holiday Sports has everything you need for camping, hiking, shellfishing, crabbing, and more. What originated as a bait and tackle shop has grown into a favorite destination among anglers, hunters, and campers alike. 895 Nevitt Rd., Burlington, 360.757.4361, holidaysportsburlington.com
San Juan Islands
Whether you’re looking for crab traps or a fishing license, Kings Marine has you covered. Located in downtown Friday Harbor, Kings Marine can outfit your aquatic adventure and supply all the gear you need for fishing. They also offer outdoor clothing for both men and women. 110 Spring St., Friday Harbor, 360.378.4593, kingsmarinefh.com
In Eastsound you’ll find Orcas Outfitters, a locally owned sporting goods shop that can help outfit your next adventure on the island. Shop clothes, shoes, camping gear, fishing equipment, and more. 68 N Beach Rd., Eastsound, 360.376.9327
Photo by Copi Vojita
Whether you’re into spinner fishing or fly fishing, Washington has enough water to keep you occupied for years on end. Make sure to check regulations online before each fishing trip! Some areas may be catch-and-release only. Visit wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.
- Skagit – Salmon, Steelhead, Bull Trout, Sea Run Trout, Whitefish, Sturgeon
- Sauk – Bull Trout, Steelhead, Salmon
- Nooksack – Salmon, Steelhead, Cutthroat Trout
- Pass Lake – (fly fishing only) Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout
- Baker Lake – Bull Trout, Kokanee, Mountain Whitefish, Rainbow Trout, Sockeye Salmon
- Silver Lake – Black Crappie, Bluegill, Brown Bullhead, Largemouth Bass, Pumpkinseed, Warmouth, White Crappie, Yellow Perch, Common, Carp, Rainbow Trout
- Lake Padden – Rainbow Trout, Coastal Cutthroat Trout, Kokanee, Largemouth Bass
- Cascade Lake – Trout, Kokanee, Largemouth Bass
- Marine Area 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay) – Various Salmon, Coastal Cutthroat Trout, Bottomfish. Public piers: Cornet Bay Docks, Coupeville Pier, La Conner Marina Docks, Oak Harbor Marina, Oak Harbor Pier
- Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands & Bellingham Bay) – Various Salmon, Bottomfish, Blackmouth. Public piers: Bellingham Cruise Terminal, Boulevard Park Pier, Drayton Harbor Park Pier, Friday Harbor Marina Docks, Gooseberry Point Ferry Dock
Carp-e Diem at the 2021 Trout Derby
Photo by Copi Vojita
From now through October 31, catch a tagged trout in a designated lake and receive a prize. Just catch a tagged fish, fill out a form (found online), and redeem your prize from a participating local business. Local lakes taking part in the 2021 derby include Lake Padden, Silver Lake, Lake Erie, Lake McMurray, and Sixteen Lake.
Skagit River Guide Service
Though based on the Skagit River, this guide service also offers sport-fishing trips on the Bogachiel, Hoh, Sol-Duc, Columbia, Cowlitz, Lewis, and Quillayute rivers. The focus is on salmon, trout, and steelhead. 52921 Rockport Park Rd., Rockport, 1888.675.2448, skagitriverfishingguide.com
Jolly Mon Charters
Jolly Mon offers sport-fishing charters out of Anacortes, into the San Juan Islands. Their focus is on salmon, lingcod, halibut, crab, shrimp, rockfish, and cabazon. Departs from Cap Sante Marina, 1019 Q Ave., Slip G4, Anacortes, 360.202.2664, jollymoncharters.com
Catchmore offers small group sport fishing charters out of Anacortes into the San Juan Islands. They’ll help you catch salmon, halibut, lingcod, rockfish, and crab. Departs from Skyline Marina, 2011 Skyline Way, Anacortes, 360.293.7093, catchmorecharters.com
Basics to Buy:
Rod & Reel – There are two main types of rods: spinner rods and fly-fishing rods. Spinner reels (as opposed to fly fishing reels) are best for beginners. Most reels will come loaded with fishing line. Tip: You should be able to buy a beginner rod and reel for under $100. If you’re starting out, it’s good to keep costs low in case fishing doesn’t end up capturing your heart.
Bobbers & Split-Shot Weights – Bobbers control how deep your bait sits in the water and keep you from getting snagged on the bottom. If a fish bites the hook, the bobber will drop, letting you know something is on the line. Split shot weights, along with a bobber, help your hook remain at a desired depth.
Bait & Tackle – Your bait and tackle will depend on where you fish! Bait is typically worms, nightcrawlers, or any live insect. Most tackle has some kind of metal, to flash in the water and capture the fish’s attention. With fly fishing, the best tackle mimics the insects found in an area. Ask an expert at your local fly/gear shop for tips.
Waders (depending where you go) – True to their name, waders help you wade through water to access different fishing areas and avoid brush along the shore. They’re best when river fishing.
Pliers – These are important for pulling the hook out of a fish’s mouth when catch-and-release fishing.
Fishing Licenses & Catch Cards – Anyone over the age of 15 in fishing in Washington must have a license to fish. You can buy a license online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov or by calling 360.902.2464. You can also buy them at retailers like Yeager’s, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Ace Hardware, Walmart, and Fred Meyer.
7 Tips for Beginner Fishermen
WRITTEN BY PATRICK DINGLE
- In rivers, look for pockets of slow-moving water where fish like to rest and feed. Fish also like to hide out in obstructed areas such as log jams, docks, overhanging banks, rocks, and weeds.
- When catch-and-release fishing, make sure to either wear gloves or always wet your hands in the water before handling the fish. Fish have a protective coating, so touching them with dry hands can expose them to disease.
- Learn your knots. The most important ones are the clinch knot (for connecting hook to line) and the double-surgeon’s knot (for connecting two pieces of line while fly fishing).
- Leave no trace. Make sure to clean up your garbage, including fishing line.
- For many, fishing is a time for quiet and contemplation. Noise from nearby people can also scare fish away. As a courtesy, try not to fish too close to other people.
- Be patient, and remember to enjoy yourself! Fishing takes time, practice, and gumption.
- Remember to always tell people your fish was bigger than it was. It’s standard practice to add about three inches to your fish’s length!
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