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Ashley Caldwell catches a Walleye at Snake Lake in Washington state.

By: Danny Garrett, WDFW Fish Program

First reported in the early 1960s, Walleye were thriving in Washington by the 1980s and have been popular with anglers ever since. Since that time, Washington’s Walleye fisheries have received growing attention by anglers nationwide for their numbers of nice-sized (harvestable) fish ranging 14 to 18 inches in length and ability to produce giant, trophy Walleye.

Trophy Fish

Washington produces some of the largest Walleye in the country due to the size of the populations and the long-lived nature of Walleye, which can survive for up to 20 years.

The Washington state record has been broken repeatedly over the last 20 years: 18.9 pounds in 2002; 19.3 pounds in 2007; and last broken in 2014 with a 20.3 pound Walleye. For reference: this eclipses most of the state records I’ve found, with the exception of Arkansas (22 pounds,11 ounces), Kentucky (21 pounds, 8 ounces), and the 1960 Tennessee world record at 25 pounds.

Consistency and Opportunity

Washington’s Walleye waters consistently produce harvestable-size Walleye year after year. These abundant, young Walleye are easy to catch for a beginner angler and make for an excellent meal, or two.

Table Fare

Walleye are regularly touted as being the best-tasting freshwater fish in North America. I, for one, agree.

Daytime Fishing

Although many serious walleye anglers target these fish at night, walleye in Washington can readily be caught during the daylight hours.

Picture Time

Walleye have some of the coolest colors of all the fishes! So, bring your camera, catch some fish, and share your photos with us at

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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

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