OLYMPIA - Modifications to sport-fishing rules, a proposal to allow more flexibility in setting impact limits on Columbia River wild winter steelhead and an amendment to allow some sport-caught Canadian salmon to be landed in Washington, all will be considered by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in its meeting here Feb. 4-5.
The two-day commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., Feb. 4 in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE., in Olympia. The meeting will re-convene at 8:30 a.m., Feb. 5 in the same location.
As part of a package of minor modifications to 2005-06 sport-fishing rules, the commission will consider proposals that would add Dolly Varden/bull trout to the list of species that cannot be totally removed from water unless it is legal to retain them; allow only one single-point barbless hook for sturgeon fishing; require all kept sturgeon to be recorded on catch record cards statewide; adjust some clam and oyster beach seasons; and modify fishing rules within 500 yards of the Toliva Shoal buoy in the Tacoma Narrows.
In a separate item, the commission will vote whether to modify existing restrictions that pertain to sport fishers bringing salmon caught in Canada back into Washington ports. The proposed change would allow landing of salmon that had been frozen or heat-processed (kippered, smoked, boiled or canned).
The commission is also scheduled to consider adopting a new joint policy with Oregon for management of wild winter steelhead that are incidentally impacted by fisheries in the mainstem Columbia River. The proposal, which has been approved by federal NOAA fisheries officials and has been discussed in several recent public meetings, would allow state fisheries managers more flexibility in setting wild steelhead impact rates.
In addition, the commission will receive updated information and may take action on a proposal to transfer the Klickitat Hatchery to the Yakama Nation; will consider adoption of a 2005-2006 policy for the North of Falcon salmon fishing season-setting process; will be briefed on a revised critical habitat designation for bull trout and will hear a presentation on the landowner incentive program to enhance and protect wildlife habitat on privately owned lands.
A preliminary agenda for the meeting can be viewed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/feb0505.htm on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) website.