Outdoors

Washington releases flurry of stuff on fishing, hunting rules

An angler prepares for go fishing during a paddling trip down the Kettle River in northeastern Washington.
Photo shows a section of the Kettle River -- just north (down river) from Curlew and a few miles south of the border Canada border at Danville -- where bait fishing would be allowed under a proposal being considered for 2012 Washington sportfishing regulations. 

 (Bob Whittaker)
An angler prepares for go fishing during a paddling trip down the Kettle River in northeastern Washington. Photo shows a section of the Kettle River -- just north (down river) from Curlew and a few miles south of the border Canada border at Danville -- where bait fishing would be allowed under a proposal being considered for 2012 Washington sportfishing regulations. (Bob Whittaker)

FISH AND WILDLIFE — Fishing rules adopted for 2012… upcoming meetings about the Pend Oreille River pike fishery… revised hunting proposals for 2012-2014  — all of this is involved in a small blizzard of proposals and adoptions coming out of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department in the past few days.

It's taking time to get explanation for some of what's going on. Pursuing.

Apparently the agency's biologists defied conservation sense and collapsed to pressure — FROM WHERE?  — to lift selective fishery regulations and allow juveniles to use bait to fish for trout in the Kettle River from the Highway 21 bridge at Curlew north to the Canada border near Danville.

The justification remains unclear as to why the agency would want to back off a working conservation effort on native fish. Curlew area kids have an excellent bait fishing opportunity at Curlew Lake. These kids are losing a valuable conservation education opportunity with a new rule allowing adults to rig them up to kill native trout.

Here are links to recent announcements on three fish and wildlife developments we're following:

Commission adopts new sportfishing seasons, rules at weekend meeting in Olympia.

Click here for the agenda and revised summaries of what was voted on.

Pend Oreille River northern pike plans to be presented in Spokane, Usk on Feb. 15-16.

Proposed rule changes for hunting seasons in 2012-2014.

Proposed northeastern Washington elk management plan.

Read on for the initial response the agency offers for going ahead with the Commission-proposal to allow bait fishing on the Kettle River:

The following is from the WDFW official summary and recommendation to the commission before Saturday's vote to adopt fishing rules for 2012.

#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.

SUMMARY OF TESTIMONY:

There was much comment about this proposal, with a majority against in emails and at the public meetings.

One person testified in favor of this proposal only if it is for juveniles at the Public Hearing, which occurred at the January 7th Commission meeting. A petition was received in late December with 550 signatures in favor of opening the entire Kettle River to bait fishing.

Comment against includes: since selective rules were implemented, the fish seem more abundant; there are plenty of places to fish with bait; concern for the native redband trout population if bait is allowed; the Kettle River is a gem and it would be a shame to allow bait again and see the trout population decrease because some people think selective gear rules are elitist; the river already has problems with temperature and the relatively pure strain of redbands have withstood the test of time in this corner of the state; the river fishes quite well with a single barbless hook on a Castmaster, Blue Fox Spinner or a fly; live bait will devastate the sport fish in the river and this will have a negative impact on tourism; live bait is an opportunity to rapidly deteriorate the fishing opportunity for everyone; I don't believe there is any logical justification to change the present regulations on the Kettle.

Amendment: Require selective gear rules for adults and remove selective gear rules for juveniles 14 years and younger. This modification will provide opportunity for juvenile anglers to fish with bait while maintaining more conservative regulation for adult anglers in this section of the Kettle River.

Staff Recommendation: Adopt as amended.

Action: The commission adopted the amended rule change. When the change goes into effect on May 1, the Kettle River roughly between Curlew and Danville will be open for bait fishing by anglers 14 and under.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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