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: DFW471109

Original Rule Proposal     See comments

Reference ID: DFW471109
Critical Conservation Need      Submission Type: Public
Rules Category:
Puget Sound Region Marine
Species covered in proposed rule
 • Steelhead
Rule to Change:
Statewide Freshwater Rules, Pg 27: One wild Steelead per lisc. yr. may be retained
New Rule Proposal:
Eliminate that one wild fish kill exception on the specific systems noted
Why the change is needed:
We are promoting the selective harvest of large Steelhead and slowly eliminating the genetic component that make them this size. Intended or not, it is largely, if not exclusively, the large fish that are killed. With our supplementation for harvest program we have already harvested out the genetic component that historically was a significant % of recitivism, ( repeat spawning ). Now we harvest out only big Steelhead w/ the genetic component that provides for longer salt water residence ?
Names of individuals or groups with whom you have discussed this change:
None. Debating w/ the beauracracy proved futile. I argued fruitlessly for wild fish prerservation many years ago.
Describe their support and/or concerns:
Area guides maintain their livelyhood would be negatively impacted without this kill option, so we choose the guides over the fish.

Date submitted: 04/26/2012

WDFW Rule Proposal Recommendation

Not Recommended for further consideration     Reference ID: DFW471109

Our Hoh River creel data does not support the supposition that the sport fishery preferentially harvests larger wild steelhead. Also, the North Coast tribes would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the ramifications of the State going to non-retention of wild steelhead prior to adoption of the regulation. The current regulation allowing only one wild steelhead per angler per year statewide, has resulted in a large drop in wild harvest by the sport fishery (roughly a 70% drop over pre-2004 harvests), and our rivers where wild steelhead are harvested are regularly making or exceeding escapement goals. On the other hand, recreational effort, both guided and non-guided, appears to be growing on the North Coast, especially during the March and April time frame when wild fish are present in largest numbers. The recreational fishery is catching and releasing (C&R) far more fish than it is harvesting, and though we assume a 10% mortality on C&R fish, there may be other less understood effects to these fish. A conservative approach to managing the wild stocks that will forestall any long term declines in the runs may therefore be advisable. That strategy might include finding ways to decrease or limit the effort on the rivers, and possibly eliminating or further restricting harvest of wild steelhead. Prior to making any major regulation changes, however, we should consider investing in a creel on the Quillayute system that could better inform us of effort, catch, and C&R trends.

Online Public Comments    (2 comments)

GEARHEARD, LAWRENCE R  December 04, 2012
I am against a WDFW rule which allows the retention (killing) of ANY wild steelhead. I've watched these fish go steadily out of existence in our rivers for over 40 years. Your actions to preserve them have without exception been too little and too late. Escapement levels that are being met are far too low to allow the runs to return to good health. Are you primarily concerned with the financial interests of the north coast guides? Are you unwilling to discuss a C and R situation with the tribes? The guides I have talked to strongly believe 2 things: 1) A return to healthy numbers of wild fish in area rivers would result in a big improvement in their business and in the economy of the area. 2) There are already too many guides with clients killing wild fish, and the numbers of these fish they encounter are decreasing each year. Look at neighboring states where C and R regulations have allowed the wild fish populations to rebound, and at economic impacts this has
HOPPLER, WES C  January 29, 2013
Oppose this proposal. Recent regulation changes are working to a degree. Need better delivery of sport angler foregone harvest to the spawning beds. Current 1 fish a year is about right - limited impact and a real claim to the treaty rights granted to the state by the tribes.

Other Comments Received