Is Spearfishing Legal in Washington?

Spearfishing is a type of fishing that involves the use of a spear or other sharp implement to catch fish. It can be done from the shore, from boats, or with scuba gear. While it may seem like an exciting way to catch fish, there are some important laws and regulations that must be followed when spearfishing in Washington.

In Washington State, it is legal to spearfish in most coastal waters, but not in Puget Sound. Spearfishing is also prohibited in many inland lakes and rivers due to the potential disruption of ecosystems. In addition, all spearfishers must obtain a valid recreational license before they can begin their hunt.

When it comes to what types of fish can be taken by speargun or Hawaiian sling, there are a few restrictions. All salmon and steelhead must be caught with an artificial lure or fly.

No live bait or natural bait may be used for these species. Additionally, all shellfish must be taken with a hand-held dip net as per state regulations.

Equipment Regulations:

In Washington State, there are specific laws regarding the type and size of equipment that can be used for spearfishing. All spearguns must have barbed tips for safety reasons and the shafts may not exceed 6 feet in length. Additionally, Hawaiian slings may not have any more than three prongs on them.

Spearfishing Seasons:

In general, most waters in Washington are open for spearfishing year-round. However, some areas may have specific closed seasons for certain species of fish depending on their spawning periods or other environmental factors.


In conclusion, while spearfishing is legal in most coastal waters and some inland waters in Washington State, it is important to remember that there are specific laws and regulations that must be followed when engaging in this activity. All participants should make sure they are familiar with all relevant rules before they begin their hunt.

Is Spearfishing Legal in Washington?
Yes, spearfishing is legal in most coastal and some inland waters within Washington State; however all participants need a valid recreational license and should familiarize themselves with all relevant laws prior to engaging in the activity.

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Lindsay Collins