STATE FISHING PROPOSAL The public is being given more time to review proposed changes to the state’s fishing rules. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will now accept written comments through Jan. 29 on the proposed regulations – more than a month longer than previously announced.
Saturday was the previous deadline to comment on the more than 70 proposed changes.
In addition, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission has postponed a public hearing on the proposals until its February meeting in Olympia. Written testimony also can be submitted during that meeting.
The commission is now expected to take action on the proposed rule changes during its March meeting in Moses Lake.
Craig Burley, fish division manager, said the public hearing was postponed to allow for additional time to draft the rule language that the commission will consider.
The department’s website includes information on the proposed rules fishery managers recommend move forward for further review and public comment, as well as information on proposals not recommended for further consideration.
Among the proposals is a change in the opening day of more than 100 resident trout streams to the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and expanding the use of two fishing poles, with the purchase of a two-pole endorsement, to 50 additional lakes throughout the state.
The list of waters includes portions of South Prairie Creek and Voights Creek in Pierce County, and parts of Kennedy Creek and its tributaries and the Nisqually River upstream of Alder Reservoir to the Mount Rainier National Park Boundary in Thurston County.
The department also is seeking comments to determine if the two-pole rule should be placed on “quality waters.” There are three options: 1. No action, leaving the two-pole rule on “quality waters” the way it is; 2. Allow two-pole on all “quality waters”; and 3. Allow two-pole on a portion of “quality waters, “based on staff and public recommendations.
Among waters under consideration are Kennedy and McLane creeks in Thurston County, and Rattlesnake Lake in King County.
Other proposed changes include:
• Converting Ohop and Long lakes into year-round fisheries, rather than having a set opening date.
• Open Minter Creek to trout fishing from the first Saturday in June through Oct. 31 with selective gear rules, a minimum size of 14 inches and a two-fish daily limit.
• Modify the fishing season for the section of the Deschutes River from Old Highway 99 Bridge on Capitol Boulevard (in city of Tumwater) upstream to the Henderson Boulevard Bridge near Pioneer Park so trout fishing is open year-round for catch and release. Selective gear rules would be in place except from Sept. 1-Oct. 15, when bait is allowed and barbless hooks are required.