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

ARCHIVED NEWS RELEASE
This document is provided for archival purposes only.
Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.
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September 14, 2015
Contact: Commission Office, (360) 902-2267

Commission to discuss proposed sportfishing
regulations, wildlife interaction rules

OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will receive a briefing on proposed changes to sportfishing rules in the freshwater areas of Puget Sound and the Washington coast during its public meeting Sept. 18-19 in Spokane.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene at the Red Lion in Spokane, 303 W. North River Drive. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. both days.

An agenda for the meeting is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.

WDFW is recommending 50 proposals move forward for public comment. The rules are specific to the rivers and lakes of the Puget Sound and coastal regions. The changes – which cover fishing seasons, daily limits and other rules – include proposals that would:

  • Eliminate size restrictions and daily limits for eastern brook trout in most western Washington streams and crappie in several western Washington lakes.
  • Require anglers to retain hatchery steelhead they catch in some western Washington waters in order to reduce the effects of hatchery fish on wild stocks.
  • Remove rules limiting anglers to keeping only two trout that are larger than 14 inches in several western Washington lowland lakes. WDFW is stocking these lakes with larger trout, making the requirement unnecessary.

The department is also considering several proposals to protect wild steelhead on the north coast of Washington. Those proposals include implementing selective gear rules on some north coast rivers and prohibiting the harvest of wild steelhead in several coastal rivers including the Calawah, Bogachiel, Hoh and Sol Duc. WDFW is working with an advisory group to refine options for the commission’s consideration.

To review and comment on the proposed rules, visit WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/. Comments will be accepted through Nov. 4. For a hard copy of the proposed rules, please call (360) 902-2200. The webpage has more information about the proposals as well as those not recommended for further consideration.

The public also will have the opportunity to provide testimony on the proposed rule changes during the commission’s meeting in November.

In other business, the commission is scheduled to conduct a public hearing on proposed amendments to state wildlife interaction rules. WDFW is seeking a variety of changes in rules addressing predation on livestock, crop damage and other sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. For details on the amendments, visit WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/regulations/2015/wsr_15-16-134.pdf.

The commission also is scheduled to consider a department proposal to purchase 9,123 acres in Douglas County to protect important shrub-steppe habitat for wildlife and provide public access for outdoor recreation. The land, located on the south side of Rufus Woods Reservoir on the Columbia River, includes access to the river and serves as critical habitat for a variety of wildlife, particularly sharp-tailed grouse.

Acquiring the parcel is the second phase of a multi-year plan to secure the 20,500-acre Grand Coulee Ranch. Last year, the department acquired about 4,200 acres of the ranch property.

The commission also will receive briefings on:

  • This summer’s wildfires and their impacts on WDFW lands and facilities.
  • A department review of the livestock grazing program.