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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

February 27, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Olympic Peninsula sport fishery issues up for public comment

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There are some changes looming on the horizon regarding the northern Olympic Peninsula fisheries.

The Olympic National Park invites sport anglers and other interested parties to provide input regarding proposed changes to the park’s recreational fishing regulations.

These proposed changes apply only to nontribal, recreational fisheries within Olympic National Park. The park requests comments or additional information which may not have been considered in developing these proposals.

To be considered in the final decision regarding implementation of these proposals, comments must be received by March 24.

The fishing regulations, which take effect on May 1, 2011 are available at the Olympic National Park web site.

The proposed changes and a brief explanation are presented below:

Queets River and Salmon River, September 1 to November 30: Clarification of Regulation. Change the daily limit (September 1 to November 30) from “Release all wild chinook” to “Release all wild chinook. Can retain two adipose clipped hatchery chinook.

The proposed change would clarify the existing regulation and allow retention of two adipose clipped, hatchery chinook salmon in the Queets and Salmon Rivers from September 1 to November 30. The retention of hatchery chinook salmon minimizes ecological or genetic risks of these hatchery fish on wild chinook salmon. Additionally, the retention of hatchery chinook in the Salmon and Queets Rivers improves consistency among several other Olympic National Park rivers, where retention of hatchery fish is promoted.

Five-Year Fishing Moratorium in Elwha River: Olympic National Park, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and state Fish and Wildlife are working to finalize a five-year fishing moratorium in the Elwha River. The moratorium will apply to recreational, commercial and subsistence fishing in the Elwha River and its tributaries.

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The fishing closure is designed to protect fish populations from harvest and incidental hooking mortality during dam removal and promote recolonization of the Elwha River system by salmonids and other fish species immediately after dam removal.

Lake Mills was closed to fishing in November 1, 2010 in preparation for the removal of the dams. The middle Elwha River (between the dams) and the upper river and associated tributaries in Olympic National Park will close to fishing on November 1, 2011.

Fishing opportunities may reopen in 2017 depending on numbers of returning salmonids. These proposed changes do not include Lake Sutherland, which is outside park boundaries.

High lakes in the Elwha basin within Olympic National Park are not affected by this moratorium and will remain open to recreational fishing each year from the last Saturday in April to October 31.

Please address comments to: Superintendent Olympic National Park, 600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA. 98362.

(Photos taken by Mark Harrison and Steve Ringman, The Seattle Times staff photographers)

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