See proposed rule
language (CR-103)
2013 Recreational Fishing Rules Concise Explanatory Statement
Fish & Wildlife Commission
Meeting Feb. 8-9, 2013

2013 – 2014 Sportfishing Rule Proposals – Briefing and Public Hearing. Audio available.

Sportfishing Rule Changes for 2013-2014

Sportfishing Rule Proposals & Comments

View proposals and comments on proposals that were submitted by the public and WDFW staff.
There are two types of rules available for viewing.

for Public Comment
Not Recommended
for further consideration
View by Category
Statewide Coastal Region
Puget Sound
Region Freshwater
Coastal Region
Puget Sound
Region Marine
Eastern Washington and
Columbia Region Freshwater

Reference ID: DFW137381

Original Rule Proposal     See comments

Reference ID: DFW137381
Critical Conservation Need      Submission Type: Public
Rules Category:
Puget Sound Region Marine
Species covered in proposed rule
 • Steelhead
Rule to Change:
New Rule Proposal:
As of April 1st extend the all ready existing “no fishing from boat” zone in Olympic National Park down river from the Park boundary to Spruce Creek Boat Launch.
Why the change is needed:
The goal is to increase the spawning sanctuary in the upper river, especially the area starting one mile above spruce creek where the water becomes very clear, making the fish especially vulnerable. This would serve as a pilot project for no fishing from boat zones to test their effective ness and determine how much they would be utilized. This would allow the continued use of boats for transport but would require anglers to step out of the boat to fish. Anglers would still be able to Bobber fish, drift fish cast other hardware and fly fish there by preserving opportunity.
Names of individuals or groups with whom you have discussed this change:
Don Freeman President, South Sound Fly Fishers Advisor, Puget Sound Recreational Enhancement Fund Advisory Board Former CCA chapter President, Olympia WA. Former member, Oregon Guides and Packers Association
Describe their support and/or concerns:
I am in favor of judiciously applied boat fishing closures when the objective is to protect vulnerable runs, especially where spawning success would be improved by such protection. The proposed closure between Spruce Creek and the ONP boundary is a prime example.
Submitted by: KERR, JIM  — FORKS, WA

Date submitted: 06/12/2012

WDFW Rule Proposal Recommendation

Not Recommended for further consideration     Reference ID: DFW137381

Updated 09/27/2012
UPDATED: The "no fishing from a floating device" regulation to reduce negative effects of catch and release fisheries on wild steelhead is typically not a tool used to address conservation objectives. Currently wild steelhead are meeting escapement in this river. Limiting harvest of wild steelhead to one per year per angler statewide, to be taken only in the lower stretches of rivers that are routinely meeting escapement goals, has reduced the non-treaty harvest of wild steelhead in these rivers by roughly 70 percent. Upper reaches of the north coastal streams under both State and Olympic National Park jurisdiction require selective gear and some are closed during much of the year, further limiting impacts of catch and release fishing. WDFW welcomes discussion of this and other ideas to better manage the wild steelhead stocks of the North Coast, as escapements, and catch and effort trends continue to develop in the future.

Online Public Comments    (10 comments)

RINGLEE, CHRIS   September 22, 2012
I am concerned with the increasing pressure on the Hoh river and boat fishing occurring throughout the entire Hoh River watershed. The Hoh River steelhead run has fluctuated from healthy to below escapement in recent years. The area in this proposal is used by steelhead to stage and spawning. These fish can be easily targeted and spotted in the clear water. I personally caught and released over 10 wild steelhead last season from the area without being creel checked and feel the creel checking on the Hoh is biasing interceptions low. Guides willingly and knowingly "low ball" their numbers for the creel checker in some attempt to limit their own impact. This is unacceptable for a professional guide to knowingly lie about numbers of fish caught. I applaud the creel checkers for their work and I understand that they cannot check every angler with current funds and limited resources. I ask WDFW to begin a public advisory committee regarding North Coast Steelhead. Thank Yo
BINDER, JOE   October 30, 2012
I support this proposal as a means of limiting the impact of anglers on spawning wild steelhead. I suspect the author of this proposal took into consideration the unique characteristics of this stretch of river--most notably its clarity, and anglers ability to see and target fish from a boat--when crafting it. Floating the river during the late spring--when the proposal would apply--it is very common to see steelhead on redds or pre-staging for spawning, and removing the ability to fish from a boat would mitigate the extent to which those fish are exposed to angling pressure during this vulnerable time. Further, to say that "we're meeting escapement so we don't need to consider additional conservation measures" is akin to saying we don't need to stop for gas because the car is still running--measures need to be taken now to mitigate the declining escapement figures, even if they are "acceptable" presently. (See
THOMAS, JOHN   October 30, 2012
Short of passing a wild fish no-kill, reducing impact is important. Please approve this suggestion.
MERWIN, BLAKE   October 30, 2012
Ruling out a proposal because it is not a tool used by WDFW to address conservation objectives is precisely the reason this should be considered. WDFW's tool box is empty. For example, no fishing from a boat has been a successful tool on the Deschutes River. Not only helping maintain a quality fishery but also enhancing the sportfishing experience as well. Steelhead are being managed into extinction in this state. There are no conservation objectives other than pandering to the tribes! That's the only reason why retention is still allowed. When the state realizes that it makes more economic sense to have a steelhead alive than dead on a plate it will change its ways. If that doesn't happen soon enough we will see the collapse on the Olympic Peninsula of wild steelhead just like the state allowed the collapse in Puget Sound.
WILSON, KRIS M  October 31, 2012
Yes, there should be sanctuary water. Side drifting is killing the run and the experience on many rivers. I remember a time when people would anchor and fish or even get out of a boat and fish. These rivers are not golf course tracks to catch every fish sometimes multiple times in an out of state guide boat with a drift rig in every nook and cranny. They are the spawning grounds of a wild run in grave danger. Every effort should be made to give them a break and still allow anger opportunity in a selective and limited fashion as it makes sense.
WHITAKER, DAN   October 31, 2012
So what if the 'no fishing from a boat' regulation isn't 'typically' used as a conservation technique? All that should matter is if it might help protect the spawning native fish a little more. And what does your one wild fish per year rule have to do with this proposed rule? It's great that the rule is helping, but more help is not a bad thing. Also, I keep seeing the WDFW mention escapement goals. I am more than a little skeptical about how those goals are decided upon, and more than that, what would it hurt to rise above the bare minimum number of native steelhead that was decided upon? No one wants to see a future where these fisheries have to be closed because of low numbers of fish, and if it takes tighter regulations to keep that from happening, then so be it. Sincerely, Dan Whitaker
GEARHEARD, LAWRENCE R  December 06, 2012
I support Jim Kerr's proposal. It is a small step, but in the right direction. 1) The "no fishing from a floating device" regulation could be a very valuable tool to address conservation efforts. As stewards of our resource you should be aware of this. 2) I believe that while the escapement goals established may prevent extinction if met, they will not achieve the return of the abundant and healthy fish runs that these rivers can support. These escapement figures should be re-thought. The longer view needs to be taken by those making these regulations. I believe that Jim Kerr and other experienced guides like him, as well as many life-long Washington residents and avid fishermen feel strongly about the preservation of these amazing fish. We are all asking that you act more strongly to secure the future of wild steelhead in our rivers.
MARETT, BOB J  December 20, 2012
1) your escapement numbers must be wrong as there are fewer fish every year 2) just because you haven't used this technique for fish management doesn't mean it wouldn't benefit the rsource. 3) shut the riverr down for a couple of years and see if the numbers increase. Wanna bet? 4) The way the rivers are fished the so called fisherman is a rod holder.. The guide does the fishing with his boat movement. Get them out of their boats and make them actually fish for a change. 5) Decouple department funding from license fees. Then work for the fish.
WALLACE, THOMAS M  January 28, 2013
I am against this proposal. It is not conservation minded but selfish. Boat fishermen should be able to fish from their boats. We do less damage to the reds than the bank fishermen wading over them.
HOPPLER, WES C  January 29, 2013
Oppose this proposal - see comments on other "boat bans" (yes I know it's no fishing from a floating device)for the Hoh, Sol Duc, Bogachiel and Calawah.

Other Comments Received