Washington pares fishing rule changes down to 50 proposals

Among 50 proposed changes in fishing rules being considered for 2016, one would allow angers to fish for coastal cutthroat trout in Flett and Leach creeks in Pierce County.l
Among 50 proposed changes in fishing rules being considered for 2016, one would allow angers to fish for coastal cutthroat trout in Flett and Leach creeks in Pierce County.l Staff writer

The process of developing sport fishing rule changes for 2016 continues, as the state Department of Fish and Wildlife has reduced the number of proposals from more than 300 to 50.

The agency is looking for more public comment on the remaining proposals, accepting them online and at a series of meetings to be held in the next few weeks.

For this round of rule changes, state fishery managers are concentrating on the freshwater areas of Puget Sound and the coast.

More than 300 proposals were submitted by department staff and the public in March. Since then, fishery managers whittled that list down to 50 proposals they are recommending move forward for additional review.

Among the proposals under consideration:

▪ Remove the daily bag limit on brook trout in select Western Washington streams.

▪ Allow anglers to keep keep stray hatchery steelhead in streams in Regions 4 and 6.

▪ Remove the rule limiting anglers from keeping no more than two trout longer than 14 inches as part of their daily limit of five fish. This would include these Pierce County lakes: American, Carney, Clear, Crescent, Kapowsin, Ohop, Rapjohn, Silver, Spanaway and Tanwax; and these Thurston County lakes: Black, Clear, Deep, Hicks, Lawrence, Long, McIntosh, Pattison, St. Clair, Summit and Ward.

▪ Open 11 lakes to year-round fishing, including Bay and Tanwax in Pierce County, and Deep, McIntosh, Pattison, Summit and Ward in Thurston County.

▪ Open Flett and Leach creeks to fishing for coastal cutthroat trout from July 1-Oct. 31.

▪ Increase the daily limit for kokanee on Clear Lake (Pierce County) from five fish to 10.

▪ Allow catch-and-release fishing for warmwater species in Black Lake Ditch from Nov. 1 to the first Friday in June.

▪ Allow trout fishing in the tributaries of Alder Reservoir and the Nisqually River above the reservoir, with some restrictions.

▪ Remove the barbless hook restriction and implement selective gear rules on McAllister Creek.

▪ Adopt catch-and-release and selective gear rules for McLane Creek.

▪ Close trout fishing year round on Minter Creek from the mouth to the hatchery rack. Salmon fishing will be allowed Nov. 1-Dec. 31.

▪ Adjust the fishing rules for Kennedy Creek from U.S. Highway 101 upstream to the barrier falls. The season end date would change from the last day in February to Oct. 31, and harvest rules would change to require catch and release and selective gear.

▪ Adjust the rules on Chambers Creek from the railroad bridge at the mouth to markers 400 feet below the Boise-Cascade dam. Selective gear rules would be in place for all species, except bait could be used from Sept. 1-Oct. 15. All trout would have to be released.

▪ Not allow the harvest of wild steelhead on 10 North Coast rivers including the Bogachiel, Calawah, Hoh, Quillayute, Quinault and Sol Duc. This proposal is still being reviewed by the North Coast Advisory Group and might be refined.

▪ The advisory group is also reviewing a proposal for the same rivers that would require anglers to purchase and use a wild steelhead harvest tag. Anglers would be limited to one tag a year. Anglers fishing with a licensed guide would have to use the guide’s tag. Guides would be allowed three tags a year.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission, which sets policy for the department, is scheduled to vote on the proposals in December.

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640


THE PROPOSALS: To review and comment on the proposed rules online, visit Comments will be accepted through Nov. 4. For a hard copy of the proposed rules, call 360-902-2200.

Public meetings

Mill Creek: 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, WDFW Region 4 headquarters, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.

Vancouver: 6-8 p.m. Monday, WDFW Region 5 headquarters, 2108 Grand Blvd., Vancouver.

Aberdeen: 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Aberdeen Rotary Log Pavilion, 1401 Sargent Blvd., Aberdeen.

Olympia: 6-8 p.m. Sept. 1, Natural Resources Building, Room 175, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia.