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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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November 03, 2017
Contact: Steve Thiesfeld, 360-902-2662

WDFW seeks public's help to simplify
freshwater sport fishing rules

OLYMPIA – State fishery managers are inviting the public to comment on proposals to simplify recreational fishing rules for Washington rivers, streams and lakes.

Proposals are based upon general policies for freshwater species – including trout, steelhead, bass, walleye, panfish, sturgeon, and shad – that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) put forth for public review in September.

"We previously provided an overview of how we want to simplify fishing regulations for freshwater species," said Craig Burley, who heads WDFW's fish management division. "Now we're telling anglers how the proposed changes apply to their favorite stream, river or lake."

For instance, WDFW has proposed assigning most lakes, ponds and reservoirs to one of six standard seasons rather than setting a custom season for each water body. Also, the department has proposed allowing separate daily limits for trout and steelhead rather than one combined limit.

Anglers can now check the documents posted online to see how those and other rules would apply to specific freshwater areas, Burley said.

The proposed rules, listed by geographical area, are available on WDFW's website at Comments will be accepted through Nov. 30. For a hard copy of the proposed rules, please call 360-902-2700.

The public will also have the opportunity to comment on the proposals during the Dec. 8-9 meeting of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. in Olympia. The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to take action on the proposals during its January 2018 meeting.

"We know our regulations are complex and can be difficult to follow," Burley said. "This is the first step toward making fishing rules easier to understand."

Burley said this is the first phase of a three-year effort to simplify sportfishing regulations throughout the state. Fishery managers are scheduled to work on salmon fishing rules during 2018. They will address shellfishing regulations and rules for other saltwater fisheries in 2019.