A man fishes in a river.

NPS photo by Josh Geffre.


Fishing in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park protects over 75 miles of Pacific Coast, 800 lakes, and 4,000 miles of rivers and streams that support some of the most extensive runs of wild salmon, trout, and char remaining in the Pacific Northwest. Through the management of fish and aquatic environments, the park works to preserve and restore native fishes and their habitats and provide recreational fishing opportunities for the enjoyment of park visitors. Fisheries biologists work with the State of Washington and eight treaty tribes each year to establish harvest and gear regulations.

Fish and Shellfish Regulations

Before you go fishing in Olympic National Park review the current fishing and shellfish regulations and check bulletin boards for locally posted regulation changes.

Cover image for the Olympic National Park Fish & Shellfish Regulations booklet
Olympic National Park Fish & Shellfish Regulations booklet


Download the current Olympic National Park Fish & Shellfish Regulations booklet

General Fishing Information

  • The Olympic National Park Fish & Shellfish Regulations booklet is effective from May 1 through April 30 of the following year. (Updated April 2021)
  • All waters in Olympic National Park are closed to the removal of fish and shellfish (including freshwater crayfish and freshwater mussels) except as described in the Olympic National Park Fish & Shellfish Regulations booklet.
  • All waters listed in the Olympic National Park Fish & Shellfish Regulations booklet are open to fishing from one hour before official sunrise to one hour after official sunset.
  • Fishing for bull trout and Dolly Varden is prohibited in all park waters and these species must be released if incidentally captured.
  • All wild fish species must be released unless specifically allowed in the Freshwater Seasons and Limits of the Olympic National Park Fish & Shellfish Regulations booklet.


  • A Washington State Recreational Fishing License is NOT REQUIRED to fish in Olympic National Park EXCEPT when fishing in the Pacific Ocean from shore, although children under 15 years of age do not require a license. No license is required to harvest surf smelt.
  • A free Washington State catch record card is REQUIRED for adults and children if fishing for salmon or steelhead. A catch record card specific to waters in Olympic National Park is available from Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife license dealers at no cost. Salmon or steelhead that are caught and released do not need to be recorded. The catch record card requires a location code for each retained fish.
  • A Washington State Shellfish/Seaweed license is REQUIRED for harvest of shellfish from the Pacific Coastal Area. Harvest of seaweed, kelp, and unclassified species is prohibited (see Marine Fish and Shellfish Seasons and Limits in the Olympic National Park Fish & Shellfish Regulations booklet).

Fish Consumption Advisories in National Park Waters

The Environmental Protection Agency, states, territories, and tribes provide advice on fish and shellfish caught in the waters in their jurisdiction to help people make informed decisions about eating fish. Advisories are recommendations to limit your consumption of, or avoid eating entirely, certain species of fish or shellfish from specific bodies of water due to chemical or biological contamination.

Fish is part of a healthy balanced diet, but eating wild fish and shellfish caught in park waters is not risk free. Parks are “islands”, but the much larger “ocean” that surrounds them affects the natural resources inside a park. Other aquatic toxins are the result of natural biological processes. Also, chemical contaminants that originate outside of park boundaries can come into parks.

Mercury is an example of a toxin originating outside a park that can find its way into a park. Mercury exists naturally in some rocks, including coal. When power plants burn coal, mercury can travel in the air long distances before falling to the ground, usually in low concentrations. Once on the ground, microorganisms can change this elemental mercury to methyl mercury. This type of mercury can build up in animal tissues, and it can increase in concentration to harmful levels. This high concentration can occur in large predatory fish - those often pursued and eaten by anglers. Studies have shown that fish in some National Park System waters have mercury levels that may be a concern to people who regularly eat a lot of fish.

To learn more about this topic, the National Park Service maintains information about Fish Consumption Advisories and Mercury and Toxins in Nature.

Aquatic Invasive Species

Imagine your favorite fishing spot and the wonderful memories. Things may look fine but underneath the surface there is a serious threat. Everything you remembered is now cemented together in a sharp, smelly mess. Invaders have wiped out the fish species you used to catch.

Aquatic invasive species are not native to an ecosystem. Their introduction causes, or is likely to cause, harm to the economy, the environment, or to human health. Aquatic invasive species are a growing risk to parks and their values. In the United States alone, there are more than 250 non-native aquatic species.

For many centuries, humans have contributed to spreading non-native species around the globe. You can make a difference. To learn more about Aquatic Invasive Species in the National Park Service, visit the
Fish & Fishing website.

How You Can Help: Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

Before you enter Olympic National Park and any time you move to another body of water within the park:


Mud, plants, and animals on watercraft, trailers or vehicles can cause the spread of invasive species such as milfoil, zebra mussels, and Quagga mussels. Invasive mussels cause millions of dollars of damage to boat and water systems by clogging pipes and engines. They also impact the native ecosystem and sport fisheries.


  1. Remove ALL visible mud, plants, and fish from your boat, trailers, waders, boots,and nets.

  2. DO NOT dump any water from other sources into Olympic National Park waters.Drain your boat hull and live well in a safe location away from all park surfacewaters.

  3. NEVER empty bait or release fish into a body of water unless they came out of it.

  4. CLEAN AND DRY EVERYTHING that comes in contact with water before enteringa new body of water.

A female salmon swims underwater.

Catch and Release Fishing

Catch and release fishing improves native fish populations by allowing more fish to remain and reproduce in the ecosystem. Learn more here!

A man stands on a nearly-submerged picnic table at Lake Crescent.

Fishing in National Parks

Find more information about fish and fishing in national parks nationwide.


The Latest News on Fishing at Olympic National Park

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    Tags: fishing

    Last updated: December 2, 2022

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