With today’s announcement that WDFW is looking for comment on ways to simplify the @$%@$ confusing as @%$@ fishing @#$@$# regulations, here’s a look at the first round of specific proposals the agency is floating:
Action: Eliminate the prohibition of chumming and allow it statewide.
Justification: Provides opportunity for the public to use this method where desired.
Action: Standardize fishing regulations for eastern brook trout statewide by requiring no daily limit and no minimum size.
Justification: This change is intended to help increase harvest of Eastern brook trout, which are a non-native trout species that hybridize with native bull trout and compete with other native species in Washington waters.
Action: Remove mandatory steelhead retention requirements.
Justification: Creel information in the mid-Columbia indicates that the rule has had limited additional benefits.
Action: Remove daily limits for pan fish species, such as bluegill and pumpkinseed, on specific waters.
Justification: Special limits are not showing benefits to populations.
Action: Change the game fish possession limit to apply when in field or in transit, aligning the regulations with the definition of the general possession limit rule.
Justification: Provide consistent language for possession limits.
Action: Remove fishing regulations in WAC and in the pamphlet that are duplicative of local landowner rules and regulations (e.g., county ordinances stating “no use of a floating device equipped with an internal combustion motor.”)
Justification: This will reduce the complexity of regulations in the pamphlet and rely on local landowners to post access regulations on site.
Action: Provides separate daily limits and sizes for trout and steelhead. Would allow both limits to be retained daily (e.g., two trout and three steelhead). Modify the definition of trout to: “rainbow trout (except steelhead).”
Justification: This will help anglers better understand the daily
catch limits and allow them to retain the daily limit of trout and the daily limit of steelhead.
Action: Reduce the number of seasons and regulations that apply to lakes, ponds and reservoirs.
Justification: Simplifies seasons and regulations for lakes, ponds and reservoirs.
- Year-round (default)
- March 1 through September 30
- March 1 through November 30
- Fourth Saturday in April through September 30
- Fourth Saturday in April through October 31
- Friday after Thanksgiving through March 31
Catch limits and minimum sizes:
|Species||Daily limit||Size restrictions|
|Trout||2||14 inch minimum|
|Trout||1||18 inch minimum|
|Trout||None||Catch and release|
|Largemouth bass||5||Bass less than 12 inches or greater than 17 inches, no more than one over 17 inches daily|
|Smallmouth bass||10||No more than one 14 inches or greater in length daily|
|Walleye||8||Minimum size 12 inches only 1 over 22 inches|
|Tiger musky||1||Minimum length 50 inches|
|All other gamefish||None||None|
Action: Standardize language regarding eligible participants to allow juveniles, seniors and disabled anglers.
Justification: Provides consistency regarding who can fish at these waters.
- Gamefish Season: Open Saturday before Memorial Day through October 31 unless listed otherwise.
- Wild trout, except brook trout and dolly varden/bull trout: Daily limit 2, minimum size 8 inches.
- Dolly varden/bull trout: Closed.
- Brook trout: No daily limit, no minimum size. Open when open for gamefish or salmon.
- Hatchery trout: daily limit 2, no minimum size. Open when open for gamefish or salmon.
- Bass, channel catfish, and walleye in rivers and streams: No daily limit, no minimum size. Open when open for gamefish or salmon.
Action: Modify language to allow the retention of hatchery steelhead in freshwater statewide when open for game fish or salmon.
Justification: Allows for broad implementation statewide. Currently incidental retention of hatchery steelhead is only allowed in Puget Sound and on the coast.
Action: Standardize statewide the annual season for rivers, streams and beaver ponds to the Saturday before Memorial Day through October 31.
Justification: Currently there are three dates around the start of June. Reducing this complexity to one season will provide predictable fishing opportunities.
Action: Eliminate provision that states all trout caught are counted as part of the daily limit whether kept or released.
Justification: Provide opportunity for anglers to continue fishing for the day.
Action: Provide consistent standard seasons for fisheries only open to white fish.
Justification: Maintain predictable seasons for fisheries only open to white fish that are consistent with wild steelhead protection.