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: DFW351364

Original Rule Proposal     See comments

Reference ID: DFW351364
Critical Conservation Need      Submission Type: Public
Rules Category:
Puget Sound Region Freshwater
Species covered in proposed rule
 • Steelhead
Rule to Change:
New Rule Proposal:
All resident steelhead (rainbow trout) must be immediately released when fishing in The Puget Sound Steelhead ESA listed rivers and in Wild Steelhead Management Zones. Selective gear is required when fishing for all trout species in these rivers to prevent excess impacts to resident steelhead. (This proposal changes the rule allowing the harvest for rainbow trout in some Puget Sound anadromous rivers areas and the type of gear that may be used.)
Why the change is needed:
Wild steelhead In Puget Sound Rivers are ESA listed as threatened and resident steelhead (rainbow trout) can play an important role in the recovery and rebuilding of the wild anadromous populations. Resident steelhead and are important in the mating, gene flow, productivity and overall stock health and viability of wild anadromous steelhead (Christie, 2012; McMillan, 2007). Recent research has shown that 20% to 40% of returning anadromous steelhead have at least one resident parent and many have two. Each form (resident and anadromous) is dependent on the other for continued survival and recovery from adverse conditions. Fishing for resident steelhead at a 14” size limit removes many valuable spawners and inflicts a high CnR mortality rate on juvenile anadromous and resident steelhead which can exceed 30%. Conserving resident steelhead will shorten the time necessary for Puget Sound wild steelhead to recover and improve their stock size, genetic diversity and health.
Names of individuals or groups with whom you have discussed this change:
The Wild Fish Conservancy - Trent Donohue and Nick Gayeski Native Fish Society - Mike Moody American Rivers - David Moryc, Senior Director River Protection Program Bill McMillan, Biologist and Outdoor writer John McMillan, Fish Research Scientist Wild Salmon Center - Devona Ensmenger Conservation Angler - Pete Soverel Will Atlas, Steelhead Conservation Committee – Federation of Fly Fishers Doug Schaad, Conservation Committee - Washington Fly Fishing Club Dave Steinbaugh, Waters West Dave McCoy, Emerald Water Anglers Bill Robinson, Fish Advocate and Chair of the WDFW SCPAG Mike Gross, WDFW Fishery Biologist
Describe their support and/or concerns:
Discussed with Mike Gross of the WDFW. This Rule proposal is supported by all others listed as well.

Date submitted: 06/14/2012

WDFW Rule Proposal Recommendation

Not Recommended for further consideration     Reference ID: DFW351364

Harvest is not a limiting factor to the recovery of steelhead. Puget Sound steelhead are already protected through a variety of other regulations. This proposal would unnecessarily restrict recreational opportunity for rainbow trout, which is not a listed species. The agency strives to balance conservation needs with recreational opportunity and in this case, the conservation need does not require limiting recreational opportunity to such a great extent.

Online Public Comments    (6 comments)

GOMBISKI, RAYMOND A  September 20, 2012
This might be the best rule proposal on the list. I have me entire 33 years fishing the snoqualmie river. In the last 15 years I have witness 1000's of native wild steelhead killed during the summer months selective fishery. The people are of the mind that if the river is open they can kill what they catch. There is no regard for the restrictions in place and not enough enforcement to handle the situation. As-side from that there is a large number of people who don't know how to handle a trout for release. If WDFW took a true scientific approach to these treasured and almost extinct fish this rule would be implemented tomorrow.
SEAGREN, SCOTT   September 28, 2012
I'm in favor of this proposal, or a modified version of this rule. As it may apply to the Green River, King Co. Wa. I'm in favor of having all rainbow released while fishing for trout and or hatchery steelhead in this watershed. Studies show that both the wild Rainbow and the wild Steelhead may be of the same genetic strain with some staying as resident and others making the migration to the sea when food conditions for either poor or good in the river for these fish to remain "resident". In low steelhead returns we note larger numbers of Rainbow tend to resident themselves in the watershed. If they are linked genetically, it can only help preserve the wild strains remaining when numbers are low. Too many steelhead fisher folk are keeping and killing resident rainbow over 16 inches in this watershed during low steelhead returns. Single hook, barbless, no bait and continue to allow the opportunity for steelhead angling, while limiting the kill of these large br
URABECK, FRANK   January 29, 2013
This proposal should get no further consideration
SIMMS, RICH K  January 29, 2013
This proposal should oven included for public input. Resident steelhead (rainbow trout) are now proven to be an important component of the diverse life history of wild steelhead and need increased protection.
HOPPLER, WES C  January 29, 2013
Oppose this proposal.Significant portions of most of the watersheds covered by this proposal are already either closed or under selective fisheries rules. Additional protection for resident Rainbow trout may be warranted, but should be taken on a case by case basis. Proposal is unclear in how it would impact harvest opportunity in the one WSMZ that currently exists. This proposal may have the unintended effect of making WSMZ more difficult to establish. The proposal goes beyond HSRG recommendations that did not limit the types of fisheries that could be conducted in WSMZ's. This is a major new policy issue and warrants a more fully developed discussion than is possible in this forum.
HOPPLER, WES C  January 29, 2013
Strongly oppose this proposal. See comments on similar/identical proposal DFW351364

Other Comments Received