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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

ARCHIVED NEWS RELEASE
This document is provided for archival purposes only.
Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

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January 13, 2015
Contact: Commission Office, (360) 902-2267

Commission adopts new sportfishing rules,
discusses Willapa Bay salmon fisheries

TUMWATER - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted several new sportfishing rules for the mainstem Columbia River, its tributaries and lakes within the basin at a public meeting Jan. 9-10 in Tumwater.

The commission, a citizen panel that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also voted to select Jim Unsworth as the department's director. That action was announced in a previous news release, available on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/jan1015a/.

Thirty-one rules - which cover fishing seasons, daily catch limits and other regulations - were adopted by the commission. The changes include:

  • Implementing additional conservation measures in the Columbia River Basin, such as fishing closures at numerous small natal streams and selective gear rules in some waters, to provide greater protection for wild salmon and steelhead.
  • Requiring catch-and-release fishing for trout from the first Saturday in June through Oct. 31 on the Naches River from Rattlesnake Creek upstream.
  • Prohibiting the retention of sturgeon on the Snake River and its tributaries. Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing would be maintained.
  • Adjusting size and daily catch limits for kokanee in Cle Elum Lake, while removing daily limits for eastern brook, brown, and lake trout.

The commission did not, however, adopt a proposal that would have changed open dates for most year-round lakes to March 1 through Oct. 31 in Asotin, Franklin, Kittitas, Yakima and Walla Walla counties.

Summaries of the changes will be available on WDFW's at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/ by late January.

In other business, the commission discussed updates to draft options for a new policy to address conservation and fishery objectives for Willapa Bay salmon fisheries. The commission is seeking public comments on the draft options through Jan. 29.

The public can review and comment on the revised draft policy options online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/willapa_bay_salmon/. The commission is scheduled to hold another public hearing on draft policy options during its February meeting.

Also during the Jan. 9-10 meeting, the commission discussed sturgeon management in the lower Columbia River, the Columbia River Fishery Management policy and the North of Falcon policy, which provides direction to fishery managers in defining annual salmon fishing seasons in Washington's waters.

The commission also elected Brad Smith chair and Larry Carpenter vice-chair through December 2015. Smith has served on the commission since June 2009 and as vice-chair since 2013. Carpenter has served on the commission since December 2011.