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

Sportfishing Rule Changes for 2017-2018

Public can propose changes
to marine sport fisheries

OLYMPIA – People with ideas about how to improve Washington State saltwater sport fisheries can submit their proposals to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) through April 30.

State fish managers will consider proposed rules submitted by the public for any fish species except salmon, halibut, and razor clams, so long as they apply specifically to the saltwater areas of Washington.

Rule proposals no longer
accepted after April 30, 2016

This year’s focus on specific geographic areas – marine waters – marks the third year that WDFW has diverted from the past practice of considering fishing rules proposed for waters anywhere in the state each year. This approach allows fishery managers and the public to concentrate on specific proposals and their potential effects in specific waters, said Craig Burley, WDFW fish program manager.

“We expect to receive numerous proposals on saltwater sport fisheries this year,” Burley said. “Next year, we’ll start the three year cycle again and look at proposals for the Columbia Basin.” 

Sportfishing rule changes developed through this process will be available for public review and comment in July.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a citizen panel that sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed rule changes in November. The commission, which has the final word on which fishing rules are adopted, is expected to take final action on the 2016-17 sportfishing rule changes at a public meeting in December.


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.