OLYMPIA-Anglers heading out for river fishing are reminded that new lure and hooking rules aimed at curtailing snagging activity are in place in some areas of the state. The rules affect waters with non-buoyant lure restrictions in effect.
Under one of the new regulations, any angler using a buoyant lure (one that floats in freshwater) in waters with non-buoyant lure restrictions must attach the hook to the floating lure or below it but within three inches of the lure. No hook may be tied above the lure. Weights may not be attached below or less than 12 inches above a buoyant lure. The single-hook restriction does not apply to a buoyant lure.
In addition, new regulations adopted during the North of Falcon salmon-season-setting process specify that only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained on the Green, Kalama and Washougal rivers in southwest Washington when non-buoyant lure restrictions are in effect.
"Anglers need to pay extra attention to gear rules this year anywhere there are non-buoyant lure restrictions," said Patrick Frazier, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Fish Program Manager in southwest Washington. "With the low water levels we're seeing this year, it's especially important to be mindful of gear restrictions."
The buoyant lure restrictions were adopted earlier this year as part of the permanent rule process in an effort to curtail illegal snagging activity. Snagging refers to attempts to take fish with a hook and line without the fish voluntarily taking the hook in its mouth. Except for rivers listed above, in freshwater it is illegal to possess any fish hooked anywhere other than in the mouth or on the head (defined as any portion forward of the rear margin of the gill plate), another permanent regulation adopted this year.
For more information on gear restrictions by specific area check the WDFW Fishing in Washington sport rules pamphlet or visit the WDFW website.