Rule to Change: 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.
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.
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 et al. 2011; 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: Wild Steelhead Coalition, Federation of Fly Fishers Steelhead Committee, The Conservation Angler.
Describe their support and/or concerns:
Support similar or identical proposal
Submitted by: GAYESKI (WILD FISH CONSERVANCY, NICK J — DUVALL, WA
Date submitted: 06/14/2012
WDFW Rule Proposal Recommendation
Not Recommended for further consideration Reference ID: DFW685875
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(2 comments)
LAWRENCE, ANDREW R January 23, 2013 LYNNWOOD, WA Comments: I support this proposal for the reasons noted above.
HOPPLER, WES C January 29, 2013 SEATTLE, WA Comments: Oppose - see comments on DFW351364