Tag Archives: largemouth

Washington Bass, Walleye, Channel Cats Would Remain Game Fish But With Liberalized Regs Under Bill Amendment

Walleye, bass and channel catfish would not be declassified as game species in Washington, but the Fish and Wildlife Commission would need to liberalize limits on them in all waters where sea-going salmonids swim.


The House Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources Committee this morning voted 8-6 to amend HB 1579 to that effect.

The bill mostly deals with enforcement of hydraulic codes, but targets the nonnative smolt eaters as part of its suite of changes meant to help out struggling orcas and their key feedstock.

I think we should do everything we can to encourage recreational fisheries to catch as many of those fish as possible so that they’re not predating on Chinook salmon,” prime sponsor Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien) said during a public hearing last week.

There already are no size or catch limit restrictions on smallmouth, largemouth, walleye and channel cats in the Columbia below Chief Joseph Dam and Snake and both of their tribs, a move WDFW implemented in 2016 following ODFW’s lead.

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But as written the change would liberalize regulations for the species on Lakes Washington and Sammamish and a host of other stillwaters connected to streams that serve as spawning and rearing habitat for not only Chinook but also coho, sockeye, steelhead, bull trout and other anadromous species.

For instance, Cottage Lake near Woodinville, Big Lake near Mt. Vernon, and Lake Sawyer east of Auburn.

WDFW’s SalmonScape illustrates the scope of other potentially affected waters.

And it also shows ones that may not, at least under the bill as it’s currently written — important spinyray lakes such as Banks, Billy Clapp, Moses, Potholes, Scooteney and Sprague in Eastern Washington, along with Seattle’s Green, Snohomish County’s Goodwin and Roseiger, and Bellingham’s Whatcom.

The state mapping product shows those have not been documented to have salmon present in or above them.

But eventually Rufus Woods and Lake Roosevelt could, if efforts to reintroduce Chinook to the Canadian Columbia go through.

Walleye and smallmouth are primarily in the Columbia system and largemouth are ubiquitous in lakes across Washington, and all can spawn naturally, but channel cats, which tend to only be able to spawn in the warmest of our relatively cool waters, have been planted in select lakes when funding has been available to buy them from other states.

While the issue of how to classify fish that are from the Midwest and elsewhere east of the Rockies is of concern to WDFW and the state’s warmwater anglers and guides, the bill has primarily elicited pushback for the elements strengthening how the agency permits work around water, including repealing all but automatic approvals for residential bulkheads on the saltwater, which can impact forage fish spawning habitat.

Rep. Bruce Chandler, a Republican from eastern Yakima County, called the bill “an imposition of changes that really apply to Puget Sound.”

Chairman Brian Blake, a Democrat who represents Washington’s South Coast, termed it a “work in progress,” but nonetheless asked fellow lawmakers to move it forward.

All eight Democrats voted for a slate of amendments to the bill, while six of the seven Republicans voted against, with the seventh absent.

The bill also would require anglers who fish for smelt in saltwaters to buy a license, a move that would annually yield an estimated $37,400, according to a legislative analysis.

A version in the Senate, SB 5580, had a public hearing yesterday. It was supported by WDFW and tribal and environmental groups, and opposed by building and business associations, with concerns from the state farm bureau.

To go into law, they would have to pass both chambers and be signed by Governor Inslee, and then, at least as far as bass, walleye, and channel cats go, the Fish and Wildlife Commission would need to make the changes to the regulations, though it could be also be done via an emergency rule.

Editor’s note: An earlier version reported HB 1579 received a do-pass recommendation out of committee. In fact, the vote was whether to amend the bill, which occurred. It remains to be given a recommendation.

Confessions Of An Aspiring Basser: My 4-year-old Has Caught More Than Me

Editor’s note: We’ve all been there, Jesse, it’s nothing to be ashamed about if the fish don’t bite. Don’t be like the editor who after another fruitless go at coho today almost posted on Facebook that he had left his vehicle unlocked with all his tackle inside and sure hoped nobody would steal it (the lures, rods, net, waders, boots, etc., etc., etc., not the car!). Stick with it, the bass will bite, bud! In the meanwhile, thanks for sharing your great story about your daughter’s catch!

By Jesse Hopkins

On Saturday, September 8th, 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to take my daughter fishing for the first time.

I recently had gotten into bass fishing and bought myself all the high-end product thinking that would help me catch fish. Little did I know that was not the case. In fact, I have yet to catch a bass.


My daughter Noel, who is currently 4 years old, asked if I could take her fishing with me the next time I go. Of course, I said enthusiastically, but I have yet to buy her a fishing pole. On the way to the local lake at the Oregon coast we stopped at a Fred Meyer so I could buy her a cheap trout fishing pole. They had a combo set on sale for $9.99. Score.

We got to the lake with her and my brother-in-law and started fishing. She kept casting but was very discouraged because it wouldn’t go far.

I told her, “Why don’t you just stand by the dock and keep flicking the pole lightly with the line and hook in the water?”

She was happy to do just that. Keep in mind all she had was a small trout hook with a plastic green worm on it.


After 10 minutes or so and multiple lost lures from my poor casting ability she yelled, “I have something on!”

I looked over and couldn’t believe she was able to hold on to the rod. It was whipping around like she was fighting a monster. She reeled it in and was so proud. She had caught in our eyes, a trophy bass.

My 4-year-old daughter now has caught more bass than me.

After several photos with the fish we were able to place it back in the lake to be caught by another fisher. She was the happiest I have ever seen her and very proud of herself. Now she is counting the days until the next fishing trip.