Rules Category: Eastern Washington and Columbia Region Freshwater
Species covered in proposed rule • Walleye
Rule to Change: Spokane River (Spokane Co.) from mouth (SR 25 Bridge) to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam.
Walleye: Season: June 1 - March 31. No min. size. Daily limit 8. Only 1 over 22 inches may be retained.
New Rule Proposal: Increase the daily bag limit from 8 to 16 fish.
Remove the upper length restriction for only 1 fish over 22 inches.
Remove the seasonal walleye fishing closure for April - May, and allow a year round season.
Why the change is needed: The overabundant population of walleye in Roosevelt Lake exhibits a low body condition (many young, skinny walleye). This is a result of reservoir dynamics, consistent large year class recruitment and limited forage. In 2007, the Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted a daily limit of eight walleye (with only one fish over 22”) to reduce the number of small walleye and balance the population. To achieve walleye and trout management objectives, the Department estimated at that time that 75,000 to 100,000 walleye would need to be caught and removed from Roosevelt Lake annually. Between 2007 and 2009 the average number of walleye harvested annually was just under 40,000 fish. Current fishing effort has not been sufficient to achieve the intended level of harvest. To be effective, current modeling suggests the number of walleye harvested annually will need to more than double.
Names of individuals or groups with whom you have discussed this change: Chris Donley - WDFW Inland Fish Program Manager
Craig Burley - WDFW Fish Management Division Manager
Marc Divens - WDFW Warm Water Fish Assessment Team Biologist
Describe their support and/or concerns:
In general, support opportunities in increase harvest of walleye in Lake Roosevelt and the lower Spokane River.
Submitted by: WHALEN, JOHN T — ,
Date submitted: 06/12/2012
WDFW Rule Proposal Recommendation
Recommended for Public Comment Reference ID: DFW431170
Rule Change Recommendation Short Title Liberalize bag limits for walleye on Lake Roosevelt and the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt
Rules Category Eastern Washington and Columbia Region Freshwater
Type of Rule Change Proposal Conservation
County or Location Information Stevens/Lincoln counties
Short Description Increase harvest of walleye in Lake Roosevelt.
Explanation Updated to clarify Table 1. The explanations for options 2 and 3 were reversed. The Lake Roosevelt walleye population remains overabundant following the liberalization of harvest regulations in 2007, which were intended to reduce the abundance of walleye in the reservoir. Fall walleye index netting (FWIN) catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) data indicates walleye abundance has not declined (Figure 1) and fish continue to exhibit slow growth and poor condition due to a predator/ prey imbalance within the reservoir. In addition, predation on other game and non-game fish species is a concern at the present abundance level. Creel data indicate that angler harvest (about 50,000 walleye annually) is not sufficient to achieve management objectives (Figure 2). Modeling suggests that an increase in angler harvest to 150,000 annually is necessary to meet management objectives. Opening the Spokane Arm during the walleye spawning season in April and May represents increased recreational opportunity, and four sportfishing regulation alternatives are being considered to allow for an increase in angler harvest (Table 1).
Table 1. Lake Roosevelt sportfishing regulation alternatives. All to include opening of Spokane Arm during April – May.
Retain Current 8 fish limit with 1 over 22”
This regulation is not currently meeting the objective to reduce the population through angler harvest.
16 fish limit Based on modeling results this regulation should increase angler harvest of walleye. Exploitation rates for age 9+ fish (22” length plus) will likely increase.
16 fish limit with 1 over 22” Based on modeling results this regulation should provide for increased angler harvest of walleye, while maintaining the current exploitation rate for age 9+ fish (22” length plus) between 30-90%.
No regulation on daily limit or size
Biologically, a “no limit” would be acceptable in managing this population. Socially, WDFW understands that this proposal may be unacceptable to constituents.