Recreational fishermen will have two new options for fishing licenses this fall after the state Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the changes at its meeting earlier this month.
Among proposals presented to the commission, the panel voted to create an all-inclusive, annual fishing license.
Called the Fish Washington license, it will allow people to fish in both freshwater and saltwater, and to harvest shellfish and seaweed. It also includes endorsements for fishing with two poles and harvesting Puget Sound Dungeness crab and Columbia River salmon and steelhead.
The Fish Washington license will cost $79.62, including taxes and fees. If the license and endorsement were purchased separately the cost would be $87.65.
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The commission also approved a new combination license for state residents 70 years and older. The license will allow senior anglers to fish in freshwater and saltwater and to harvest shellfish and seaweed. The senior combination license will cost $19.05. The current retail price, if not purchased together, is $23.05.
Concerning wildlife issues, the commissioner voted to keep the Columbian white-tailed deer and the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly listed as endangered species in Washington.
The state’s population of Columbian white-tailed deer occupies the northern shores and islands of the lower Columbia River in Washington. The population has fluctuated from a low of 545 in 2002 to 966 in 2015. Despite activities to protect and restore habitat, much of the upland prairie that Columbian white-tailed deer prefer has been lost, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Historically, Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies were found in 45 locations around the state. Now, only eight populations can be found today. Factors affecting these butterflies in Washington include the decline of grasslands, the invasion of non-native plant species and increased human development on the butterflies’ habitat, according to the agency.
Agency staffers also reviewed possible fishing rule changes for Lake Roosevelt. The review was prompted by a petition submitted in January by the Colville Tribe asking the state reduce harvest impacts on wild redband rainbow trout in the lake.
Of the three proposals, one would make no changes. The tribe proposed a daily limit of 10 trout, no more than wild trout 18 inches or longer. A modified proposal would set a daily limit of five hatchery fish from the Grand Coulee Dam to the Northport bridge. Upstream from the bridge, anglers could keep two trout with a minimum size of 18 inches.
The commission is expected to vote on the staff’s final recommendation in October.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640