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Recommended for Public Comment

Rule Change Recommendation Short Title
# 21. Adjust open area for trout fishing on the Methow River to protect steelhead

 • Final Rule Actions
 • See comments

Rules Category
Eastern Washington and Columbia Region Freshwater

Type of Rule Change Proposal
Conservation

County or Location Information
Okanogan County

Short Description
Increase conservation measures by closing trout angling in a section of the lower Methow River. More details --Close trout angling on the section of river from Gold Creek to Highway 153 bridge at McFarlane Creek. New rule would read "Methow River from County Rd 1535 (lower Burma Rd) Bridge to Gold Creek, All Gamefish, First Sat in June - Sept 15."

Explanation
During September, within the lower section of the Methow River, steelhead begin to move upstream into the section of the river open for trout fishing. This rule change protects steelhead from incidental catch by closing a portion of the lower section to trout fishing.

Original Rule Proposal Number(s)
DFW329223

Final Rule Actions

Staff Recommendation
Adopt as proposed.

Commission Action
Adopted as proposed.

Rule Modifications
No


Public Testimony

There were no comments.

Online Public Comments  (23 comments)

RINGLEE, CHRIS   September 21, 2012
GIG HARBOR, WA  
Comments:
I support this regulation and the need to protect ESA listed steelhead in the Methow. Unfortunately the Methow recieves a substantial amount of pressure and WDFW should consider limiting guiding and floating from a fishing device. The current angling issues cause me to fish elsewhere for steelhead. Thank you, Chris Ringlee
RINGLEE, CHRIS   September 21, 2012
GIG HARBOR, WA  
Comments:
I support this regulation and the need to protect ESA listed steelhead in the Methow. Unfortunately the Methow receives a substantial amount of pressure and WDFW should consider limiting guiding and floating from a fishing device. The current angling issues cause me to fish elsewhere for steelhead. Thank you, Chris Ringlee
BRONSON, DUNCAN   September 22, 2012
WINTHROP, WA  
Comments:
This change will enhance steelhead moving up into the system. Identify which Gold Creek Bridge..upper or lower?
MEANS, DAVE D  September 24, 2012
METHOW , WA  
Comments:
I have fished the Methow for years and in my opinion the summer trout fishery has little inpact on the steelhead. Don't target the steelhead. You most likely won't catch any or very few until late Aug. early Sept. If we need to close the river then do so, and reopen in Oct. after a large # of steelhead have come up. What is truly harming steelhead on the Methow is the opening of the Miller hole! In 2009 I caught about 60 steelhead 11 of which were hatchery. Last year was going to be this great run on the Methow. I fished harder and caught 9 native and only 2 hatchery. The sport of the fishery is what it's all about. CLOSE the Miller Hole! Let the community ie:stores, restarants and motel owners, benefit from a great fishing river.
LUCAS, JAY   September 28, 2012
MAZAMA, WA  
Comments:
How about consider LEAVING open the Methow from the Fog Horn ditch up to the Weeman Bridge until Sept 15? Currently it closes Aug. 15. On a "annual average" high water makes fishing this stretch of river only practical for a few weeks. Floating/drifting this stretch is hazzardous at best, due to natural obstacals, and high water makes wading not really an option. Thanks, Jay
TRUMBO, BRAD   October 01, 2012
WALLA WALLA, WA  
Comments:
I agree with protecting steelhead as this change intends but I think the wording is a bit confusing here. I understand that the closed area is being extended but will a June through Sept 15 closure really change much If the month of September is the most important month and only the first two weeks are protected? Selective gear rules are already in place and steelhead are tough to catch. Is there an estimate of incidental steelhead catch in that section that would suggest this is a wise decision? I am fine with the extended closure as long as WDFW certain that this will definitely provide a benefit to the steelhead rahter than just reduce the open area for trout anglers during a great time of year to be fishing the Methow.
JOHNSON, MARY B  November 09, 2012
TWISP, WA  
Comments:
Preserving opportunity should be the goal in regulating the trout fishery on the Methow River, not limiting opportunity by closing more of the river to trout fishing (Sept. 15 to Sept. 30th)to protect fish (steelhead). The net result of closing this popular section of the river is less fishing access for the trout fishing public (the WDFW stakeholders) on the mid section of the Methow River. It will significant- ly increase the fishing pressure on the remaining upper section of the fishery, which is already rapidly becoming crowded. The Methow Valley Fly Fishers Club is supportive of keep- ing the Methow River open the full trout season (until Sept. 30th). Although we realize that an additional closure of the river (Mcfarland to Gold Creek) on Sept. 15th may insure this, we are unhappy with the trend of more closures leading to less fishing opportunities. (TO BE CONTINUED..........................
JOHNSON, MARY B  November 09, 2012
TWISP, WA  
Comments:
(continued from previous comments) Over the last two decades our fly fishing club and its' members have witnessed: * The almost closure of the entire Methow River system to fishing (we are proud to have been instrumental in keeping it open with its' current catch and release regulations. * The closure of the upper Twisp, upper Chewuch, and the upper Methow Rivers. * Then the closure to the remaining Twisp, Chewuch, and additional upper Methow Rivers on August 15th (trading these waters to open Gold Creek down to lower Burma Bridge). * Then the closure from Mcfarland to lower Burma Bridge on Sept. 15th. * Now the proposed Mcfarland to Gold Creek on Sept. 15th. (to be continued.............................
JOHNSON, MARY B  November 09, 2012
TWISP, WA  
Comments:
(continued from previous) The Methow Valley Fly Fishers Club is supportive of regulations and therefore temporary closures if it is to protect fish. But, we feel in the past some of these regulation closures were based on permits incorrectly written and arbitrary closure locations not based on sound biology. In the future we would like to see more waters open, and are supportive to use sound biology and more soundly written permits to allow this. Mary B. Johnson President Methow Valley Fly Fishers (50 members)
NORTHRUP, GORDON (GORDI) R  November 13, 2012
WENATCHEE, WA  
Comments:
I am opposed to this proposal. I have fly fished the lower Methow several times during the summer for many years and have never hooked a steelhead. I am a member of the Wenatchee Valley Fly Fishers & the Methow Valley Fly Fishers and most of us feel that the Methow River regulations are well balanced to serve both the fish and the fishermen.
JIM, VANNICE R  November 14, 2012
TWISP, WA  
Comments:
beinging an avid sportsman,I believe there is no reason to close this section of the Methow. I have fished this section quite a bit and have never had any trouble with incidental steelhead catch on this section of the methow. We do not need ant more loss of fishing oportunities.
LUCAS, D JAY   November 15, 2012
MAZAMA, WA  
Comments:
First as a memeber of the MVFFC I would like to voice my support for their letter, seperately submitted. Over the years, I have lived in the valley for 30+ years, management decisions have run the full spectrum; from fishing all the way up to Trout Creek, to the continued addtional closures of fishing areas, and shortened seasons. Is it possible to gain access to the written reports and discussions resulting in these actions? It is a one sided discussion when only you have the detais/information,leading to these policies. The reality is by the time one can start to fish the river, after high water, and the new closures, one could think the river is only meant to be used by state angencies and their staff. thanks, Jay Lucas
ASHE, KEVIN   December 08, 2012
DARRINGTON, WA  
Comments:
i'm against this one. keep the rivers and streams open.
JOHNSON, KENNETH B  December 10, 2012
BELLINGHAM, WA  
Comments:
I would like to support this measure for the reasons originally stated.
SUNITSCH, KIRK F  December 11, 2012
LEAVENWORTH, WA  
Comments:
Closing down this section of the river to trout fishing would eliminate some of the only quality blue ribbon trout fishing in Eastern Washington. The Yakima River and the Methow River are some of the only quality trout river fishing in Eastern Washington and for that matter State of Washington. It seems that most everything in certain areas are managed to protect the steelhead or salmon. Please do not close this section of the river for trout fishing. It will put more pressure on the upper part of the river and remove some of the best blue ribbon trout fishing in Eastern Washington.
RANCOURT, ROB D  December 11, 2012
SEATTLE, WA  
Comments:
I'm all for preserving the Native Steelhead population.
HOFFMAN, SUSAN   December 12, 2012
LAKEWOOD, WA  
Comments:
I disagree with this proposal. We do not have a long enough trout season now. Sure the Fish and Game people can tell the difference between a trout fisherman and a steelhead fisherman. Maybe they just need to ticket and patrol more often.
FEWKES, RICH   December 14, 2012
TONASKET, WA  
Comments:
i do not agree with this change. it is not just for the steelhead, but for other fish as well.
ALLEN, DANIEL   December 28, 2012
MT VERNON, WA  
Comments:
This is another good idea.
PAINE, MICHAEL N  January 03, 2013
SEATTLE, WA  
Comments:
While I understand WDFW's concern, I am not in support of this requirement for fly fishing anglers. The fall offers some of the best fishing for large cutthroat trout and this option should remain open into October. I typically see only a few dedicated anglers during this time before the river is open for steelhead.
PASLAY, RON L  January 12, 2013
BREWSTER, WA  
Comments:
You have completely cut off stream fishing for trout in this area, now with this new rule. When I was a kid I used to enjoy fishing for trout on Gold Creek. In fact the state used to plant fish at Foggy Dew. Now you have it closed to protect bull trout. This is a crock in my opinion. Where am I supposed to take my grandkids to creek fish. By the way, what is the "confluence" you talk about in the rules and just where is that supposed to be? I don't mean to be a wise guy, I'm just thoroughly confused. In talking to your rep in Ephrata, she couldn't tell me either. Please reply. Thank you.
SENYOHL, AL   January 24, 2013
KIRKLAND, WA  
Comments:
Wording on the Rule #21 proposal is confusing & not clear. The new rule as submitted would "close all trout angling on the section of the Methow River from County Rd. 1535 (lower Burma Rd.)to Gold Creek, All Gamefish, First Sat. in June -Sept 15th". The proposed rule change is to protect Steelhead during Sept. Why would you close the river to trout fishing starting the 1st Sat in June through August to protect Steelhead that arrive in the river in Mid Sept? The current regulations were changed several years ago moving the boundry to the McFarlane Creek Bridge on Hwy 1535 (nearly 20 miles from the mouth of the river). The impact on returning is minimal at best & below NOAA erquariments Documented NOAA
SENYOHL, AL   January 24, 2013
KIRKLAND, WA  
Comments:
Rule #21 on the Methow River is confusing & misleading. The rule as proposed would close trout angling "Methow River from County Rd 1535(lower Burma Rd)Bridge to Gold Creek, all Gamefish, First Sat in June-Sept 15th" to protect Steelhead. Steelhead do not enter the Methow River until mid to late Sept. Why would you close this section of the river to trout angling in June, July, Aug & early Sept? Creel Surveys in 2010 & 2011 show Steelhead encounters below NOAA requirements. Only selective gear & catch & release fishing (with trout gear) is allowed. Special Emergency Rules are always available to protect Steelhead if needed. Preserving opportunity should be the goal in regulating the trout fishery. The current regulations should be left in place with no further restriction on the trout fishery on the Methow River as recomended by the Methow Vally Fly fishers (MVFF). Al Senyohl, Pres. Steelhead Trout Club of WA / Member MVFF, CCA & Home owner in Winthrop, WA