• WDFW Freshwater Policy Proposals

  • Talk all about trout here.
Talk all about trout here.
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 #239409  by hewesfisher
 Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:36 am
November 3, 2017
Contact: Steve Thiesfeld, 360-902-2662
WDFW seeks public's help to simplify freshwater sport fishing rules
OLYMPIA – State fishery managers are inviting the public to comment on proposals to simplify recreational fishing rules for Washington rivers, streams and lakes.

Proposals are based upon general policies for freshwater species – including trout, steelhead, bass, walleye, panfish, sturgeon, and shad – that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) put forth for public review in September.

"We previously provided an overview of how we want to simplify fishing regulations for freshwater species," said Craig Burley, who heads WDFW's fish management division. "Now we're telling anglers how the proposed changes apply to their favorite stream, river or lake."

For instance, WDFW has proposed assigning most lakes, ponds and reservoirs to one of six standard seasons rather than setting a custom season for each water body. Also, the department has proposed allowing separate daily limits for trout and steelhead rather than one combined limit.

Anglers can now check the documents posted online to see how those and other rules would apply to specific freshwater areas, Burley said.

The proposed rules, listed by geographical area, are available on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/. Comments will be accepted through Nov. 30. For a hard copy of the proposed rules, please call 360-902-2700.

The public will also have the opportunity to comment on the proposals during the Dec. 8-9 meeting of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. in Olympia. The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to take action on the proposals during its January 2018 meeting.

"We know our regulations are complex and can be difficult to follow," Burley said. "This is the first step toward making fishing rules easier to understand."

Burley said this is the first phase of a three-year effort to simplify sportfishing regulations throughout the state. Fishery managers are scheduled to work on salmon fishing rules during 2018. They will address shellfishing regulations and rules for other saltwater fisheries in 2019.


One of the proposals is to remove the "when fishing for trout with bait" rule and I wholeheartedly support that proposal. To make sure your voice is heard, please visit the link above to review and comment on policy proposals. I've also posted this in Lake Fishing forum.
 #239412  by rappuhd
 Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:42 pm
Why are you in favor of removing the ruling regarding all fish being caught on bait counting towards daily limit whether retained or not? Just curious at first glance I thought that was probably one of the few things that should not be messed with. Just wondering.
 #239424  by hewesfisher
 Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:32 pm
rappuhd wrote:Why are you in favor of removing the ruling regarding all fish being caught on bait counting towards daily limit whether retained or not? Just curious at first glance I thought that was probably one of the few things that should not be messed with. Just wondering.

This rule does not apply to all fish, just trout. For those who troll, as I do, I've never had a single trout "swallow the hook" whether baited or not. I would support retaining this rule IF it was changed to apply only to still fishing for trout with bait which is the only trout fishing method I've ever experienced trout swallowing the hook.
 #239441  by rappuhd
 Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:31 pm
Totally agree with you on this. Just would like to see that distinction made as still fishing seems to deep hook them a lot.
 #239473  by JoshH
 Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:27 pm
Yes there would need to be a still fishing with bait distinction. I fish a lake where chumming is allowed and I see guys all of the time "culling" keeping the larger fish until they reach their limit and tossing back the smaller fish. I always see a few floating after these guys leave. To make that now legal would make the situation even worse.