Believe it or not, there are 7 ways to catch fish in Washington State that are completely illegal. Obviously a hook, line, and fishing pole are not on the list, but what is? One of these ways is so unlikely and impossible I would be surprised if anyone has ever been charged. However the law exists so someone has to have done it at least once!
If you look at Washington State law for fishing, there are some interesting entries. Under line C, they list the ways you can not catch fish in Washington State. You are guilty of Unlawful Fishing in the 1st Degree if a “person shoots, gaffs, snags, snares, spears, dipnets, or stones fish or shellfish in state waters.” Maybe you missed it, read it again carefully.
Yes, it says STONES FISH! They mean taking a rock, throwing it into the water, and actually hitting the fish to kill it. I have no idea what the chances of actually successfully doing this but it must have happened. How do I know? I know because the law exists. All rules or laws exist because some idiot (or genius if you look at it that way) accomplished the impossible and we had to create rules to keep it from happening again. So what is the penalty for fishing with a rock or any of the 7 ways to illegally catch a fish in Washington State?
According to Washington State law “First, Unlawful Recreational Fishing in the First Degree (RCW 77.15. 370) is a gross misdemeanor offense which means, if convicted, you could be facing a sentence of up to 364 days of jail imposed and a $5000 fine.” That’s up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine if found guilty! I get the other 6 ways to kill fish having a steep penalty but using a stone? It seems so unlikely that you should almost get a prize for doing it, not a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.
I am making sure I am very careful the next time I decide to go rock skipping at the river. It could land me in the slammer!
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