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WDFW Fish Program
600 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501-1091

Sportfishing Rule Changes for 2017-2018

WDFW schedules meetings on proposed rules
for saltwater sport fisheries

OLYMPIA – State fishery managers are seeking public comments on sportfishing rules for the saltwater areas of Puget Sound and the Washington coast.

As part of that effort, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled three meetings to discuss rules proposed for the 2017 season with the public.

The public and department staff submitted 66 proposals this spring. State fishery managers are recommending that 11 of the proposals move forward for additional review. The webpage has more information about the proposals as well as those not recommended for further consideration.

The public meetings are scheduled for:

  • Mill Creek: 6 to 8 p.m., Aug. 29, WDFW Region 4 headquarters, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd, Mill Creek.
  • Port Townsend: 6 to 8 p.m., Aug. 30, Marina Room of the Point Hudson Marina, 130 Hudson St., Port Townsend.
  • Olympia: 6 to 8 p.m., Aug. 31, Natural Resources Building - Room 172, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia

The public will also have the opportunity to provide testimony on the proposed rule changes during the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission’s meeting Nov. 4 and 5 in Olympia. Check the commission’s website for details on the meeting.

The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to vote on the proposals during a meeting in December.

WDFW is recommending further discussion on proposals that would:

  • Require fishing vessels carry a descending device when fishing for bottomfish or halibut in areas east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line. The devices are used to return rockfish to deep water, reducing the number of rockfish deaths due to barotrauma, which occurs when rockfish are brought to the surface quickly.
  • Make it unlawful to possess another person’s shellfish or food fish (including halibut, salmon and sturgeon) without written permission while in the field or in transit.
  • Implement a 4 ½-inch minimum size requirement for Tanner crabs harvested in Puget Sound.
  • Prohibit shellfish harvesters from cooking oysters in the shell or using heat to open oysters on the beach.
  • Allow squid harvest year-round, including the harvest of Humboldt squid in Hood Canal.


Timeline for 2017-2018 Sport Rule Adoption Process

March 15 through April 30

Solicit proposals online for marine waters through an online process.

April 30

Deadline for submitting proposals.


Agency review of proposals.

Early August through September

Proposals placed on website for public comment.

August through September

Regional meetings with public to discuss proposals.

End of October

Deadline for the public to submit written comments on proposed sport rule changes.

November 4-5

Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting: Public testimony will be received for sport proposals.

December 9-10

Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission takes action on sport rule proposals.

July 1, 2017

Rules take effect.