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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 20, 2011 at 6:29 PM

State Fish and Wildlife considering plenty of changes for 2012-13 fishing season

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State Fish and Wildlife is considering new sport fishing regulations for the 2012-2013 seasons, and there are some eye opening changes that could occur.

Some of the proposals include:

Changing the statewide opening day of the lowland lake fishing season from the last Saturday in April to the fourth Saturday in April.

Closing fishing early for steelhead and other game fish in several river systems in Puget Sound and along the Strait of Juan de Fuca to protect wild steelhead.

The early closures, ranging from mid-January to mid-February, would apply to the Nooksack, Skagit, Stillaguamish, Snohomish, Green and Puyallup river systems, along with several streams along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The proposal also includes closing the upper section of the Samish River on Dec. 1 and the lower section Jan. 1 to fishing for all species.

Allowing anglers to fish with two poles on the Pend Oreille River and the Lower Spokane River.

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Closing fisheries on a number of small coastal streams that drain into Washington’s ocean waters to protect juvenile anadromous fish.

Closing sturgeon retention in Puget Sound, as well as its tributaries. The proposal is designed to protect Columbia River sturgeon that venture into Puget Sound to feed. Under the proposal, catch and release fishing for sturgeon would still be allowed.

Remove northern pike from being designated as a game fish and retains the designation as a prohibited species.

Removing landlocked fish rules in Swift Reservoir, and removes the two pole endorsement from dam to markers about 3/8 mile below Eagle Cliff Bridge.

Boosting the Lake Roosevelt walleye daily limit from eight to 16, and only one over 22 inches may be retained.

Allow two pole endorsement in the Lower Spokane River, and add year-round kokanee fishery with no minimum size limit and a daily limit of six kokanee, and up to two fish with an adipose fin.

Open an area of Upper Wind River by approximately two miles from Sept. 16-Nov. 30 to catch and release season for steelhead.

Expand internal combustion motor boat fishing in the Wynoochee River from 7400 Line Bridge to above the mouth of Schafer Creek. Currently this area is open to bank access only and fishing is not allowed from a boat.

Removing the lower size limit for lingcod spearfishing in Puget Sound.

The proposed rules, which would affect various freshwater and saltwater fisheries around the state, are available on the state Fish and Wildlife’s website. Printed copies of the proposals are available by contacting Fish Program at 360-902-2700.

State Fish and Wildlife has scheduled four public meetings this month to discuss its rule proposals with the public.

Meeting are 6 p.m.-8 p.m. on: Oct. 24 at the Rotary Log Pavilion, 409 South Monroe in Aberdeen; Oct. 25, at state Fish and Wildlife’s Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd. in Mill Creek; Oct. 26 at the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. in Olympia; and Oct. 27 at the state Fish and Wildlife’s Spokane Office, 2315 North Discovery Place on Spokane Valley.

During the meetings, the public can discuss the proposals with state Fish and Wildlife staff and submit written comments. Comments also can be submitted to WDFW Rules Coordinator Lori Preuss at Lori.Preuss@dfw.wa.gov or 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA, 98501. All written comments must be received by Dec. 30.

The public also will have an opportunity to provide testimony, as well as written comments, on the proposed rule changes during the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Jan. 6-7 meeting.

Check the state Fish and Wildlife Commission’s website for the specific day and time.

The commission, which sets policy for state Fish and Wildlife is scheduled to vote on the final sportfishing rules package during a meeting Feb. 3-4.

(Photos taken by Mark Yuasa and Ron Judd)

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