OLYMPIA — Recreational anglers will soon have the option of using two poles while fishing in most Washington lakes under a new law passed by the state Legislature.
Effective Aug. 15, the two-pole endorsement option will apply to the majority of the 8,000 fishing lakes, ponds and reservoirs in Washington state. Endorsements will be available Aug. 13 from authorized license dealers, listed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/vendors, or from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) at http://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/.
Anglers wishing to take advantage of the new opportunity will be required to pay a $20 fee ($5 for resident seniors) for the endorsement, which is in addition to the recreational fishing license issued by WDFW. The total cost for the endorsement will be $24.50 ($6.50 for seniors), which includes a 10 percent state surcharge, a 10 percent transaction fee and a $.50 dealer fee.
Revenue generated from the new fees will go toward hatchery fish production.
Because approximately 145 lakes and ponds will be excluded from the two-pole endorsement program, anglers should check the regulations carefully before they go fishing, said Phil Anderson, WDFW interim director. The list of excluded lakes and ponds is available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/twopole/. Saltwater fisheries and fisheries on rivers and streams will also be excluded.
“Our department priority is to protect and conserve Washington’s fish populations, while providing fishing opportunities for anglers,” Anderson said. “The new legislation will help us achieve both by improving prospects for catching hatchery trout and warm-water fish in the state’s lakes, while excluding areas where populations are more vulnerable,” Anderson said.
Excluded waters are those with conservation issues, such as waters containing threatened or endangered species, or lakes designated for specific management objectives, such as juvenile-only fishing lakes.
Anderson said the department will also evaluate additional areas and situations where two-pole fishing may be allowed in the future. He encouraged the public to provide comments on the new law during WDFW’s 2010-11 sportfishing rule-making process in early September.
When the new endorsement option goes into effect Aug. 15, all fishing regulations, such as size, species and daily limits, will still apply. Anglers with a valid two-pole endorsement may use up to three hooks on each line.
“Having a second pole may help anglers catch their daily limit of fish faster, but the limit and other regulations will remain the same,” Anderson said.
For more information, visit WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/, or call WDFW’s licensing department at (360) 902-2464.