See proposed rule
language (CR-103)
2013 Recreational Fishing Rules Concise Explanatory Statement
Fish & Wildlife Commission
Meeting Feb. 8-9, 2013

2013 – 2014 Sportfishing Rule Proposals – Briefing and Public Hearing. Audio available.

Sportfishing Rule Changes for 2013-2014

Sportfishing Rule Proposals & Comments

View proposals and comments on proposals that were submitted by the public and WDFW staff.
There are two types of rules available for viewing.

for Public Comment
Not Recommended
for further consideration
View by Category
Statewide Coastal Region
Puget Sound
Region Freshwater
Coastal Region
Puget Sound
Region Marine
Eastern Washington and
Columbia Region Freshwater

Reference ID: DFW282576

Original Rule Proposal     See comments

Reference ID: DFW282576
Critical Conservation Need      Submission Type: Public
Rules Category:
Puget Sound Region Freshwater
Species covered in proposed rule
 • Steelhead
Rule to Change:
Skagit River, All Other Trout, Minimum Size 14", June 1st - Jan 31st, Daily Limit: 2
New Rule Proposal:
Proposed rule: Skagit River (Entire River and Tributaries below fish barriers) - All resident steelhead (rainbow trout) must be immediately released when fishing in the Puget Sound rivers which have ESA listed steelhead. Selective gear rules required when fishing for all trout species in these rivers to prevent excess impacts to resident rainbows.
Why the change is needed:
Wild steelhead in Puget Sound are ESA listed as threatened and resident rainbow trout (o.mykiss) can play an important role in the recovery and rebuilding of the wild anadromous populations. Resident rainbow/steelhead are important in the mating, gene flow, productivity and overall stock health and viability of wild anadromous steelhead (Christie, 2012; McMillan, 2007). Recent research has shown that 20%-40% of returning anadromous steelhead have at least one resident parent and may have two. Each form (resident and anadromous) is dependent on the other for continued survival and recovery from adverse conditions. Fishing for resident rainbows/steelhead at a 14" size limit removes many valuable spawners and inflicts a high CnR mortality rate on juvenile anadromous and resident steelhead which can exceed 30%. Conserving resident rainbow trout will shorten the time necessary for Puget Sound wild steelhead to recover and improve their stock size, genetic diversity and health.
Names of individuals or groups with whom you have discussed this change:
Native Fish Society, Wild Steelhead Coalition, Scott Willison (Membership Chair, Coastal Conservation Association)
Describe their support and/or concerns:
There is support for this change by both Native Fish Society and Wild Steelhead Coalition as well as most individuals to which I have spoken. There is a high level of concern regarding our Puget Sound steelhead and resident rainbow populations especially in the Skagit watershed. There are no known concerns relating to this requested rule change.
Submitted by: MEGILL, ED L — DEMING, WA

Date submitted: 06/13/2012

WDFW Rule Proposal Recommendation

Not Recommended for further consideration     Reference ID: DFW282576

This regulation is unnecessary for conservation. Much of the Skagit basin is now under catch and release, selective gear regulations (see Skagit above Marblemount Bridge, Cascade River, Sauk River regulations) where the vast amount of rainbow trout in the system reside. Very few rainbow trout are harvested now with the minimum size restrictions in place, and there is limited area in which rainbows are present in any numbers. This regulation would limit anglers' ability to catch salmon and hatchery steelhead in times and places where hatchery fish are abundant, and impede the ability to effectively use angling as a means to remove hatchery strays from spawning with wild populations.

Online Public Comments    (3 comments)

RINGLEE, CHRISTOPHER D  January 08, 2013
If WDFW is concerned with anglers being used as a mechanism to cull straying hatchery fish in the wild, then WDFW should implement regulations requiring the mandatory retention of hatchery strays.
LAWRENCE, ANDREW R  January 23, 2013
I support this proposal for the reasons noted above.
URABECK, FRANK   January 29, 2013
Agree with DFW that this proposal should get no further consideration

Other Comments Received