The state Fish and Wildlife Commission recently adopted close to 70 sport-fishing rule changes that will take effect on May 1.
Some of the highlights from the state fisheries news release were:
Increasing the daily catch limit for walleye from eight to 16 fish in Lake Roosevelt and a portion of the Spokane River – waters where there is an overabundance of walleye. The rule is designed to bring the walleye population back into balance with other fish populations, improving the quality of the fisheries. The rule also opens that portion of the Spokane River to the harvest of walleye year round.
Limiting anglers to one white sturgeon per year in Washington’s waters beginning May 1. Starting Jan. 1, 2014, the new rule will also require anglers to release all white sturgeon in the lower Columbia River below Bonneville Dam, the Washington coast, Puget Sound and their tributaries. However, catch-and-release fishing for the species will be allowed in those areas. The rule is designed to address ongoing concerns about declines in the lower Columbia River white sturgeon population.
Removing the daily catch limit for channel catfish and the daily catch and size limits for bass and walleye in portions of the Columbia and Snake rivers and their tributaries to assist recovery efforts for salmon and steelhead. The changes are designed to increase the harvest of abundant bass, walleye and channel catfish, which prey on juvenile salmon and steelhead that are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Reducing the daily catch limit of cabezon to one fish in marine areas 4-11 and 13 and prohibiting the retention of cabezon measuring less than 18 inches in length. The rule, designed to provide additional protection for the species, also reduces the fishing season for cabezon in those areas to May 1 through June 15.
State Fish and Wildlife plans to have a complete list of all the changes on their website in the next two weeks. For details, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov.
The commission will meet April 12-13 in Olympia to make final hunting rule changes.