OLYMPIA – The public will have a final chance to testify on proposed sportfishing rule changes for the 2006-2007 seasons when the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meets Nov. 18-19 in Vancouver, Wash. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 18 at The Heathman Lodge, 7801 NE Greenwood Drive. It will continue at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 19.
One of the 102 proposals suggested by the public and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) staff would modify the existing catch-and-release regulation on the Cedar River to allow retention of trout and other gamefish in the lower river.
Other proposed rules would allow a one-week wild steelhead retention season in the Chehalis and Wynoochee rivers and a three-day season in the Humptulips River. Another would accommodate disabled anglers statewide by changing selective gear rules to allow electric motors on floating devices.
The commission is expected to adopt the 2006 sportfishing rules package during its Feb. 10-11 meeting in Olympia. The new rules will take effect on May 1, 2006.
The complete package can be viewed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/index.htm. Printed copies can be obtained by contacting the WDFW Fish Program, (360) 902-2700.
The commission will also consider whether to adopt a new comprehensive policy regarding hunter access to private lands which would replace and update past programs, coordinates hunter access with crop damage mitigation and, once funding is secured, expand access to key waterfowl and pheasant habitat, as well as to private industrial forestlands.
In addition, the commission will be briefed on:
- The results of a field study conducted by WDFW to assess the accuracy of Puget Sound sport crab catch estimates based on phone surveys, and recent years’ developments in management of the fishery as they relate to timing of a policy review.
- The status of game populations and priorities identified by the public for the 2006-08 hunting package.
- A report that chinook salmon caught in the fishery off the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, largely originated in the United States.
The complete agenda for the commission meeting can be viewed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/meetings.htm.