OLYMPIA – Anglers planning to fish in Washington past the end of the month should be aware that nearly a hundred new fishing rules will take effect starting May 1.
The new regulations, affecting everything from catch limits to fishing tackle, are included in the new Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for the 2010-11 season.
The free pamphlet will be available later this week at WDFW offices and more than 600 sporting goods stores and other license vendors statewide. It is also posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.
“We strongly advise anglers who have been using last year’s fishing pamphlet to pick up a new one,” said Craig Burley, WDFW fish division manager. “While many regulations remain the same from year to year, some significant changes are about to take effect in fisheries throughout the state this season.”
Those changes include nearly a hundred new rules adopted last February by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a nine-member citizen panel that sets policy for WDFW. Prior to taking action on those proposals, the commission conducted a series of public hearings and considered more than a thousand comments received from anglers and non-anglers throughout the state.
Key changes are summarized on page 11 of the new rules pamphlet. For example:
- All rivers, streams and beaver ponds in the Puget Sound area are closed to fishing, unless otherwise stated in the rules pamphlet. This approach allows fishery managers to provide greater protection for juvenile anadromous fish in many of the smaller unnamed streams.
- Anglers can now purchase a two-pole endorsement, allowing them to use up to two lines when fishing in most lakes statewide.
- Fishing for all species of rockfish will be closed in most areas of Puget Sound to protect declining populations.
- Harvest of sea stars, shore crab and other “unclassified marine invertebrates” is prohibited to protect these beach dwellers.
- Barbless hooks will be required during salmon fisheries in Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay to protect wild fish.
Burley recommends that anglers check the new pamphlet for any new rules that might apply to their favorite fishing spots.
One worth noting is Rattlesnake Lake in King County, which opened to trout fishing April 24 with a five-fish limit, but will switch to a catch-and-release fishery when the new rules take effect May 1.
“That’s the kind of change that anglers need to know about,” Burley said. “By checking the new rules, they can avoid surprises in fisheries around the state.”