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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

September 10, 2009 at 5:18 PM

State Fish and Wildlife modifies freshwater anti-snagging rule

State Fish and Wildlife has been busy pushing out the news releases in the past few days, and here is one on a modification to the anti-snagging rule, which will allow anglers to use a broader range of lures in certain freshwater areas where anti-snagging rules are in effect.

The anti-snagging rule has been further clarified as of Sept. 11 to read:

Except when fishing with a buoyant lure (with no weights added to the line or lure), or trolling from a floating device, terminal fishing gear is restricted to a lure or bait with one single point hook. Only single point hooks measuring not more than 3/4 inch from point to shank may be used, and all hooks must be attached to or below the lure or bait. Weights may not be attached below or less than 12 inches above the lure or bait.

A “buoyant lure” is a lure that floats on the surface of freshwater when no additional weight is applied to the line or lure, and when not being retrieved by a line.

“Trolling” means fishing from a vessel that is underway and under power.

The change alters an anti-snagging rule adopted earlier this year during state Fish and Wildlife’s permanent rule-making process that required anglers to use lures (buoyant or non-buoyant) with single-point hooks while fishing for salmon and steelhead in the mainstem Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam, or fishing for any fish species in other affected rivers.

The single-point hook requirement was intended to address snagging problems, simplify state Fish and Wildlife’s previous non-buoyant lure restriction and allow anglers to more easily release non-target fish such as wild salmon and steelhead, Craig Burley, a state Fish and Wildlife fish division manager said in the news release.

After hearing from members of the public who proposed alternatives to the new single-point hook requirement, the department modified the anti-snagging rule to allow the use of multiple hooks under certain circumstances, Burley said.

“The change adds some complexity to the rule, but we believe it will not interfere with the department’s ability to protect fish from snagging.” Burley said.

Burley noted that state Fish and Wildlife will also consider further gear modifications aimed at conserving wild fish populations during the upcoming 2010-2012 sportfishing rule adoption process.

“The department’s priority is to create rules that are designed to protect Washington’s wild fish populations while continuing to provide anglers with sportfishing opportunities,” Burley said.

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