Washington State Discover Pass

Published On February 6, 2012 »» By Dan Rice » Bass, Fishing
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Discover Pass

I receive many questions about Long Lake, also known as Lake Spokane or the Spokane River in Eastern Washington. There are a few different public boat launch sites and their names are often misconstrued.  There is also a ton of misunderstanding when it comes to the Discover Pass that is now required at State Parks, DNR sites and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife access sites.

The Discover Pass

The Discover Pass is required at all State Parks, Department of Natural Resource sites and Department of Fish and Wildlife sites.  This pretty much means any public boat launch in Eastern Washington, unless using a private launch or private resort boat launch. So how much does this pass cost?

Let’s look at what the pass signifies; our state budget for recreation sites has not only been reduced, but almost eliminated.  In order to keep these sites open and the land in functional condition, the Discovery Pass was born, keeping all agencies funded and operational.

  • 84% of your Discover Pass fee goes to Washington State Parks
  • 8% of your fee goes to the Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • 8% of your fee goes to the Department of Natural Resources

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at how much this Discover Pass costs:

  • A daily Discover Pass can be bought at the boat ramp for approximately $7
  • An annual Discover Pass can be purchased online for $30
  • If you launch your boat more than (4) times per year, an annual Discover Pass makes sense.

*Please note that daily launch fees must also be paid in addition to your Discover Pass. The daily launch fees go to the maintaining of each boat launch.

*A Discover Pass is now transferable between (2) vehicles, as of June 2012.


Launching out of Nine Mile Resort or Riverside State Park for an entire fishing season

Annual Discover Pass: $30

Boat Launch Fee at State Park: $7 (approximate)

Total: $37 for one visit

Let’s say we fish at Long Lake at least (10) times throughout the season:

Annual Discover Pass: $30

Boat Launch Fee: 10 trips x $7 = $70

Total: $100

The Natural Investment Pass

What if we want to skip daily launch fees at State Parks?

The Natural Investment Pass is a Discover Pass on steroids. At State Parks, this pass is an annual payment of $80. This means you can use Riverside State Park or Nine Mile Resort without having to pay daily boat launch fees. Purchase the $80 Natural Investment Pass and go fishing without worrying about launch fees for an entire year. (Only valid at State Parks)

*This pass comes as a window cling that is transferable between vehicles.

Let’s say we fish at Long Lake at least (10) times using this method:

Natural Investment Pass: $80

Boat Launch Fee: Not needed with this pass

Total: $80

So as you can see, if you are using State Parks, DNR access sites or WDFW sites, a Discover Pass is going to be needed no matter the condition. The only question that you need to consider is how many times you frequent these water access sites. For lakes that do not have launch fees, a Discover Pass is your ticket to get on the water, but for those of us who use State Parks, the Natural Investment Pass will save you money over the long run if you launch at least (10) times from areas that require launch fees.

Hope this helps alleviate some of the confusion. For more information, I advise that you visit discoverypass.wa.gov

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About The Author

Dan Rice is an outdoor writer from Spokane, Washington. He writes for his website, FHC Outdoors, and is a contributing writer to Western Bass Magazine. Be sure to visit his YouTube channel for action on film!

One Response to Washington State Discover Pass

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