FISHING – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department is taking comment on proposed changes to sportfishing rules.
A public meeting has been set for agency staff to discuss proposals 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the agency’s Spokane Region Office, 2315 N. Discovery Place in Spokane Valley.
Current proposals related to Eastern Washington include:
• Allowing anglers to fish with two poles on the Pend Oreille River and the lower Spokane River.
• Removing northern pike from the state’s list of gamefish to allow more liberal management of their populations.
• Changing the opening day of the lowland lake fishing season from the last Saturday in April to the fourth Saturday in April.
All of the proposed regulations, which would affect various freshwater and saltwater fisheries around the state, are available on the agency’s website, wdfw.wa.gov.
Written comments are due Dec. 30.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will take more comments on proposals during its Jan. 6-7 meeting.
Have a blast watching Condit Dam go down
RIVERS – The explosive demise of Condit Dam on Washington’s White Salmon River will be available for all to see online in real-time video.
The demolition is scheduled for Wednesday between 11 a.m. and noon.
• The PacifiCorp website is scheduled to carry the blast live, www.pacificorp.com/es/hydro
• The White Salmon Time Lapse site already has been capturing images and creating an album of progress: whitesalmontimelapse.
Another timber firm charges for access
FORESTS – Hunting access is taking a new twist this season in Southwest Washington as Rayonier starts selling permits for entry to its lands.
The timber company’s new hunting permit program for 46,000 acres near Grays River in Pacific County follows fee-access programs initiated several years ago by Potlatch in Idaho and Inland Empire Paper Co. in Eastern Washington and Idaho.
However, Rayonier’s program is more restrictive and expensive.
Rayonier is selling 175 permits to enter its 31,000-acre Fossil Creek area Aug. 15-Dec. 31 for a flat $225.
Though private timber companies like Rayonier have restricted access to their lands in recent years, they haven’t charged hunters they do let in.
Hunters also can bid for 30 entry permits to the 15,000-acre Salmon Creek area on eBay. At the end of the bidding period, whoever has offered the most money gets the permit.
For the past three years, Rayonier has been leasing parcels to groups of hunters. The bid levels for five leases in Grays Harbor County range from $1,317 for 567 acres to $4,124 for 4,615 acres. Clubs get exclusive use of the hunting areas for a year.
The Rayonier permit system continues a new phase to hunting access.
Until about 10 years ago, hunters and other recreationists were welcome to camp on most private timberlands throughout the year.
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