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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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December 01, 2017
Contact: Commission Office, (360) 902-2267

Public can comment on proposed simplified fishing rules,
protective status of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse

OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a public hearing on proposals to simplify recreational fishing rules for Washington rivers, streams and lakes during its public meeting Dec. 7-9 in Olympia.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also will take public comment on the department's recommendation to continue to classify the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse as threatened under state law. 

On Thursday, Dec. 7, the commission is scheduled to convene for an informal discussion of administrative and operational issues in Room 175 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE in Olympia. The workshop, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 2-5 p.m.

The special meeting will be followed by a two-day meeting Dec. 8-9 in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 8. On Dec. 9, the commission will re-convene at 7 a.m. with an executive session, followed by the regular public meeting at 8:30 a.m.

An agenda for the meeting is available at

State fishery managers are proposing a package of simplified recreational fishing rules for Washington's rivers, streams and lakes. The proposals are based upon general policies for freshwater species – such as trout, steelhead, bass, walleye, and panfish – that WDFW put forth for public review in September.

For instance, WDFW has proposed assigning most lakes, ponds and reservoirs to one of six standard season dates rather than setting a custom season for each water body. Also, the department has proposed allowing separate daily limits for trout and steelhead rather than one combined limit.

The proposed rules, listed by geographical area, are available on WDFW's website at

This is the first phase of a three-year effort to simplify sportfishing regulations throughout the state. Fishery managers are scheduled to work on salmon fishing rules during 2018. They will address shellfishing regulations and rules for other saltwater fisheries in 2019.

In other business, the commission will hold a public hearing on state wildlife managers' recommendation to continue to classify the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse as threatened under state law. 

The sharp-tailed grouse was listed as a threatened species in Washington in 1998. The remaining populations of sharp-tailed grouse in Washington are small, relatively isolated from one another, and may not persist unless they increase in number.

The draft review on the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse is available online at

The commission also will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to rules for compensating commercial livestock owners for animals killed or injured by wolves. The changes, proposed by WDFW, are intended to increase clarity, streamline the process, and provide consistency with state law and the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

In addition, commissioners will take public comment on salmon management in Willapa Bay, and receive briefings on:

  • Target shooting ranges on WDFW-managed lands.
  • A proposed translocation of mountain goats from the Olympic Peninsula to the North Cascades.
  • WDFW's role in regulating private aquaculture net-pen operations that produce Atlantic salmon.
  • The state's Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and future planning efforts.
  • An organizational and management assessment of WDFW.
  • An overview of the department's budget.