OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will take public input on proposed sportfishing rule proposals when it meets Dec. 5-6 in Port Townsend.
The commission, which establishes policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will also consider creating a watchable wildlife decal program to benefit wildlife-viewing opportunities in the state, establishing a special drawing for permanent annual hunting and fishing licenses, and changing rules governing nuisance wildlife control operators.
The commission will meet in the USO Hall at Fort Worden in Port Townsend. Meeting hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5, and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6.
The commission will take final action on the sport fishing rules proposals at its February meeting in Olympia. The proposed rules include:
- Rockfish protection options and lingcod season changes;
- A ban on treble hooks in Marine Areas 1-13;
- Catch-and-release rules for salmon and steelhead;
- Salmon handling rules in Marine Areas 5-13;
- Extending the closed area for catch-and-release fishing on oversized sturgeon in the Columbia River;
- Reducing wild steelhead harvest on several Olympic Peninsula streams; and
- Establishing daily fishing hours for recreational shrimp fisheries.
Written comments on the sport fishing rule proposals can be submitted during the Dec. 5-6 commission meeting, or mailed before the meeting to Evan Jacoby, WDFW Rules Coordinator, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia WA 98501-1091, or e-mailed to Jacoby at email@example.com.
The commission has scheduled a policy briefing and public hearing on recommendations for the 2004-05 Columbia River spring chinook fishery at the Port Townsend meeting. A final decision on the proposed two-year policy is expected at the commission's Jan. 17 workshop in Olympia.
The commission is also expected to hear updates on the state's comprehensive wildlife conservation strategy, WDFW's workforce diversity program, the Puget Sound recreational fisheries oversight committee's activities and the North Cascades elk herd augmentation project.
A complete meeting agenda is available online on the WDFW website.