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WDFW Fish Program
600 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501-1091

Sportfishing Rule Changes for 2016-2017

WDFW extends comment period on proposed rules
for Puget Sound, coast sportfishing

OLYMPIA – The public will have more time to review proposed changes to fishing rules for Puget Sound and the coast under an extended comment period announced today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Under the new timeline, WDFW will accept comments submitted online through Nov. 12 - about a week longer than previously announced.

Rule proposals comments no longer
accepted after November 12, 2015

The extra time allows people to review and comment on recommendations submitted by the department’s North Coast Steelhead Advisory Group. The advisory group provided the following recommendations for protecting wild steelhead in several coastal rivers:

Fishery managers have recommended 50 proposals submitted by the public and staff move forward for additional review. One of those is a proposal on the lower Columbia River that was held over from last year in order to coordinate with fishery managers in Oregon. Other recommended proposals would:

  • Eliminate size restrictions and daily limits for eastern brook trout in most western Washington streams and crappie in several western Washington lakes.
  • Provide trout-fishing opportunities in sections of several streams currently closed to fishing. These streams, which include the Little Quilcene and Snoqualmie Rivers, would open to fishing in sections farther upstream from where endangered fish return.
  • Require anglers to retain hatchery steelhead they catch in some western Washington waters in order to reduce the effects of hatchery fish on wild stocks.
  • Remove rules limiting anglers to keeping only two trout that are larger than 14 inches in several western Washington lowland lakes. WDFW is stocking these lakes with larger trout, making the requirement unnecessary.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposals at its Nov. 13-14 meeting in Olympia. Written testimony can also be submitted at the time.

The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to take action on the proposed rule changes at its December meeting.

Timeline for 2016-2017 Sport Rule Adoption Process

End of February through March

Solicit proposals online for freshwaters of the Puget Sound and Coast through an online process.

March 31

Deadline for submitting proposals.

April through Mid-July

Agency review of proposals.

July through September

Regional meetings with public to discuss proposals.

Mid-July through October

Proposals placed on website for public

September 18-19

Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting: Staff will brief the commission on proposed regulation changes.

Extended to November 12

Deadline for the public to submit written comments on proposed sport rule changes.

November 13-14

Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting: Public testimony will be received for sport proposals

December 11-12

Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission takes action on sport rule proposals

July 1, 2016

Rules take effect