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

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November 30, 1999
Contact: Pat Michael, 360-902-2628
or Madonna Luers, 509-456-4073

December 11, 1999 is deadline for comment on 2000-2001 sportfishing rule change proposals

OLYMPIA—From slot limits on bass to fishing closures for endangered salmon and trout protection, dozens of Washington 2000-2001 sportfishing rule change proposals are open to public comment through Dec. 11.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will present the proposed changes to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at its meeting at the Inn at the Quay in Vancouver, WA on Dec. 11. Written public comment can be sent to Evan Jacoby, rules coordinator, WDFW, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091 by Dec. 10. The commission will also take input at that meeting on the 11th, but will not make final decisions until February. Rule changes made then will take effect May 1, 2000.

The proposals and explanations for them, available on the agency's Internet website and in paper copies at WDFW offices in Spokane, Ephrata, Yakima, Mill Creek, Vancouver, Montensano, and Olympia, include:

  • Bass daily catch limit of five less than 12 inches or greater than 17 inches, with no more than one over 17, on 88 listed waters statewide, to protect the bass age class that preys most on forage fish for a better long-term balanced fishery

  • Burbot fishing setlines not allowed to avoid wastage and exceeding catch limits

  • Salmon possession rules changed to allow filleting in the field after fish are brought to shore and angler has stopped fishing for day

  • Steelhead harvest rule changes in north coastal rivers

  • Sturgeon catch record card requirement statewide, prohibition of removing oversized sturgeon from water, annual catch limit of 10

  • Walleye daily catch limit in Columbia River downstream of Tri-Cities increased from five to 10 per day, with no more than five over 18 inches and no more than one over 24 inches, to coincide with an Oregon rule addressing walleye predation on endangered salmonids

  • Lingcod spearfishing season for divers shortened by three weeks to May 21 - June 15 to protect low lingcod populations

  • Marine conservation areas and preserves expanded by five new or revised designations to protect declining marine fish populations and provide for non-consumptive use

  • Restrictions on harvest of unclassified marine invertebrates and fish to protect declining populations

  • Stream fishing closures in the North Central region (several rivers and streams in Okanongan and Chelan counties) to protect threatened or endangered upper Columbia steelhead, bull trout and spring chinook; also whitefish seasons within those anadramous zones with strict hook restrictions to eliminate hooking mortality of protected fish

Many other statewide and regionally-specific rule changes are being proposed that WDFW officials encourage anglers to review for comment.