FISHING -- As I explained in my Thursday outdoors column, a proposal has come through the back door of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to revert back to allowing bait fishing in the Kettle River.
Selective gear rules adopted with local citizen input in the 1990s have clearly improved the numbers and size-range of trout in the Columbia River tributary.
The rules, which are popular for improving fisheries at many lakes and streams in the region, require anglers to use artificial flies or lures with single, barbless hooks.
Bait is prohibited in selective gear fisheries because it usually results in the deep-hooking death of a trout even if the angler intends to release it.
Now, however, a few locals want to liquidate the gains and allow bait fishing. They say they're looking out for the best interest of their kids.
I say the best thing we can do for their kids is teach them a little bit about fisheries conservation. Do this by taking them out with a fly, spinner or jig to a river that has four or five times more trout than it would after a couple years of bait fishing.
Then, if they want to fish with bait, take them to nearby Curlew Lake, one of the best mix-species fishing lakes in Washington.
The Fish and Wildlife Department wants to hear your opinion on this and other proposals to be considered for the 2012 Washington Sportfishing Regulations pamphlet. Comments are due by Dec. 30
See all the details and proposals on the WDFW 2012 fishing proposals web page.
Send your comments on any of the proposals to: Sportfishing.Rules@dfw.wa.gov
Here are details of the specific proposal to allow bait fishing on the Kettle River:
#14. Kettle River Fishery Additions
Proposal: Removes selective gear rules in a portion of the upper Kettle River near the town of Curlew.
Explanation: Provides recreational opportunity through removing selective gear rules from the Canadian Border upstream to Hwy 21 Bridge at Curlew.