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

December 03, 2001
Contact: Margaret Ainscough, (360) 902-2408
or Doug Williams (360) 902-2256

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Sportfishing rules, spring chinook, cougar pursuit, hunt boundary on Fish and Wildlife Commission agenda

VANCOUVER, WA Proposed sportfishing rules for 2002-03, an allocation plan for Columbia River spring chinook salmon, a cougar-pursuit proposal and clarification of the Medicine Creek Treaty Tribes' hunting area southern boundary are among the issues facing the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in its meeting here Friday and Saturday (Dec. 7 and 8).

The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m., Friday (Dec. 7) at the Cascade Park Inn and Suites, 221 NE Chkalov Drive in Vancouver. The meeting is scheduled to re-convene in the same location at 9 a.m., Saturday (Dec. 8).

The commission is scheduled to discuss and take public comment on a draft 2002-03 sportfishing rules package in its Saturday session. The final rules, which will take effect next May, are scheduled to be adopted by the commission in February. Proposed changes in the rules package include creation of several new underwater marine protected areas, a proposal to allow freshwater anglers to use two poles with purchase of a second freshwater fishing license, and revisions to wild steelhead release rule exceptions.

Also on Saturday, the commission is scheduled to be briefed on future changes to WDFW's lake and stream rehabilitation policy and to consider adoption of amendments to bald eagle protection rules.

In Friday's session, the commission will consider adopting a rule to define the southern boundary for the Medicine Creek Treaty Tribes' ceded lands, for purposes of setting tribal hunting seasons.

The southern boundary was identified earlier this year by independent mediators retained jointly by the state and tribes. The mediators determined that the southern boundary of Medicine Creek Treaty Tribes' ceded area extended into the Cowlitz River drainage basin from a point east of Mt. Rainier south along the main range of the Cascade Mountains to Old Snowy Mountain, then southwesterly toward Mount St. Helens, and then northwest from Badger Peak to the headwaters of Skookumchuck Creek.

In other business in the Friday session the commission will:

  • Vote on adoption of a proposed Columbia River spring chinook allocation policy, to provide guidance to WDFW in allocating harvest opportunity between commercial and recreational fishers for 2002 and 2003.
  • Consider whether to allow the use of dogs to pursue cougars for the purpose of training the dogs and modifying cougar behavior to improve public safety. The pursuit-only proposal, which WDFW staff prepared at the request of the commission, would allow pursuit only, solely in selected areas where cougar incidents have presented public-safety issues.
  • Establish Private Lands Wildlife Management Area (PLWMA) hunting seasons, permit levels and boundary areas for 2002.

A complete commission meeting agenda can be found on the Internet.