Fish Responsibly

Photo by A. Woodward, 2015

Did you know...

The fish found in Lake Whatcom are both native and introduced and include kokanee (native), Cutthroat trout (native), and Largemouth bass (illegally introduced) among others. Lake Whatcom is also host to two hatcheries operated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) that raise kokanee and rainbow trout.

You can help!

Prevent the depletion of fish stocks. When fishing at Lake Whatcom, please fish responsibly and follow fishing laws like size and bag limits. If you're not keeping your catch, practice proper catch and release techniques (rules and regulations).

Licensing Information

Everyone over the age of 15 is required to have a fishing license when fishing in Whatcom County. Combination licenses that let you fish for everything including shellfish can be purchased at local stores around Whatcom County or online. Please check the rules and regulations before fishing and be sure to have the appropriate license in order to avoid a ticket. Catch record cards are required for salmon and other species and are available when you purchase your license or at any license dealer. Fishing licenses can be purchased online.

Fish Consumption Advisories

There are several fish consumption advisories for Lake Whatcom for those who are concerned about contaminants in fish. These advisories are especially important for women who are or might become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children.

  • Smallmouth bass should not be consumed by women of childbearing age or by children

  • Largemouth bass consumption should be limited to 2 meals per month for women of childbearing age and children

  • Yellow perch consumption should be limited to 1 meal per week for women of childbearing age and children

Bait and Aquatic Invasive Species

Some aquatic invasive species can spread when fishermen catch them in one lake and then decide to use them as bait on their next fishing trip. To avoid the spread of aquatic invasive species, such as Asian carp and invasive earthworms, do not transport bait from one waterbody to another. Protect your fishing waters by disposing of any unused bait in a trash receptacle. It is unlawful to possess or use live aquatic animals as bait, except for live aquatic animals (other than fish) collected from the water being fished.

Fishing equipment can also aid in the spread of other aquatic invasive species of concern. For example, tiny invasives, such as New Zealand mudsnails, can easily attach to your fishing gear and equipment and spread unnoticed to new waters. To avoid the spread of aquatic invasive species, please follow the cleaning practices outlined in Oregon Sea Grant's New Zealand mudsnail brochure or use designated gear and equipment when fishing in infested waters.