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
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Statewide Coastal Region
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Region Freshwater
Coastal Region
Puget Sound
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Eastern Washington and
Columbia Region Freshwater

Recommended for Public Comment

Rule Change Recommendation Short Title
# 14. Convert Leader Lake to a year-round fishery

 • Final Rule Actions
 • See comments

Rules Category
Eastern Washington and Columbia Region Freshwater

Type of Rule Change Proposal

County or Location Information
Okanogan County

Short Description
Create a year-round fishery and eliminate this lake as an opening day water.

This lake has a good population of spiny ray fishes (e.g. black crappie; bluegill; yellow perch). The lake is normally closed to all fishing after September 30 each year. Having it open on a year-round basis will provide a winter ice fishery for Okanogan County residents and could help to keep in balance an ever increasing perch population.

Original Rule Proposal Number(s)

Final Rule Actions

Staff Recommendation
All options include opening of Spokane Arm during April - May (year-round season).

  • Option 1: Retain Current 8 fish limit with 1 over 22"
  • Option 2: 16 fish limit
  • Option 3: 16 fish limit with 1 over 22"
  • Option 4: No regulation on daily limit or size

Commission Action
Adopted: Spokane River mouth to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam-- year round season. Lake Roosevelt and Spokane River section-- Walleye 16 fish daily limit.

Rule Modifications

Public Testimony

Representatives from the Confederated Colville Tribe of Indians spoke about the efforts they are making to remove walleye from tribal fishing areas and the negative economic impact that walleye, an introduced species, have on tribal members.

Online Public Comments  (14 comments)

SNOW, CHARLIE   September 24, 2012
Excellent proposal. More fishing opportunity during our long winters is always appreciated.
FISHER, CHRISTOPHER J  October 08, 2012
I am not aware of a top level predator in this lake. Thus I would agree with the opportunity to increase the harvest opportunity for spiney-ray fish, which can become stunted if abundance is not reduced by predation or harvest.
LLEWELLYN, TERRENCE C  October 17, 2012
I am in favor of making this fishery year round only if the intent is to NOT rehab the lake going forward. This is a resevoir that despite some previous propaganda put forward by the WDFW, has historically had spiney ray fish. This is a statement that can be backed up by landowners friends, and relatives that were actually around Leader their entire lives and have caught them over the years.
CARVER SR., RUSSELL L  November 29, 2012
Please pass rule change #14 This is a perfect lake to allow year round fishing.It has great opertunity for ice fishing while not really impacting any thing. Thank you for the opertunity to respond.
ASHE, KEVIN   December 08, 2012
since i favor opening most all waters year round i am definitly in favor of this reg for leader lake.
WHITE, JAMES A  December 10, 2012
Excellent management tool. I think it is a great idea.
HUMLING, MICHAEL A  January 08, 2013
I support either year-round open season on Leader Lake. Leader provides a unique spiny ray angling opportunity for those of us in the Methow and putting anglers on the ice to crop the perch population is a good thing. How about adding a mandatory catch-n-keep for yellow perch on top of the proposal? Either way, I support the increased angling opportunity for us Okanogan County residents and it seems a sound management tool for cropping the perch population and indirectly helping the trout fishery.
PASLEY, CHRIS R  January 08, 2013
Agree with proposal. Ice fishing opportunities in this area are somewhat limited and Leader provides a good winter fishing opportunity for a variety of fish. Also agree that this rule change would help reduce overpopulation of certain spiny ray fishes.
ROBISON, GREG C  January 08, 2013
I live in Wenatchee and enjoy ice-fishing Leader Lake. Please continue to leave Leader Lake as a year-round fishery. Thank you.
ALFORD, RICK   January 08, 2013
As an avid fisherman here in the Methow Valley, I believe the opening of Leader lake to is an excellent decision! Finally! It creates an ideal winter fishing opportunity as well as supports an avenue for fisherman to take part in sound management of this resource. Winter fishing Leader lake will no doubt contribute to our local economies but will also help WDFW manage fish populations.
FRADY, CHARLES   January 14, 2013
Leader Lake provides ample fishing opportunities for residents of the Okanogan and Methow Valley valleys, as well as residents of the Columbia corridor. It is one of the only local lakes with multiple species of spiny-ray fish. Bass, perch, bluegill, and crappie are all non-native species and can be effectively fished for in the winter. Opening Leader Lake as a year-round fishery will provide winter fishing opportunities similar to those of Patterson Lake in the Methow Valley. Spiny-ray species are extremely fecund and populations can become stunted when numbers are not managed properly. Year-round fishing may increase the quality of the fishery in summer since populations will likely be thinned through the winter.
TIBBITS, WESLEY T  January 14, 2013
I feel having Leader Lake open year around provides a great opportunity for children and beginner fisherman to catch a relatively bite friendly fish. Children just like to catch fish and Leader provides this with its ample numbers of pan fish. I would also like to remind the State that any spiny fish communities need to be kept in check or overpopulation will occur and stunting, resulting in unhealthy population of fish. Keep it Open and keep the kids and fish happy!
SMITH, TOM   January 14, 2013
Anticipated winter fishery control of select species will not be realized unless road access is maintained. Is that planned?
BUTLER, CHRIS   January 15, 2013
I would support a year round fishery.