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Washington springs new rules

Washington likes to keep anglers on their toes.

Fishing seasons open throughout the year, including major waters that open on March 1, April 1 and, of course, the popular lowland trout season that opens the last Saturday in April.

Just to keep anglers thinking, the new 2009-2010 fishing licenses were required as of April 1.

But any rule changes detailed in the 2009-2010 fishing regulations pamphlet, which is just starting to show up at fishing license dealers, don’t take effect until May 1.

Got that?

Here’s a sampling of key rule changes that will kick in on May 1:

Statewide stream fishing opening day will be the “first Saturday in June.” Note: This change applies to streams that opened June 1 in previous years, with the exceptions noted below.

Stream fishing seasons have changed on selected waters that will open the “Saturday of Memorial Day weekend” rather than on the statewide opening date in June.

Selected waters opening May 23 this year are: Lake Roosevelt tributaries between Grand Coulee Dam and State Highway Bridge at Northport (except Barnaby Creek, Nancy Creek and tributaries listed in the sportfishing rules pamphlet), Colville River from Valley bridge upstream and all tributaries, Kettle River and Kettle Arm, and the Little Pend Oreille River.

Live aquatic animals cannot be used as bait, with the exception of sand shrimp and those aquatic creatures collected from the water the angler is fishing.

The rule was primarily prompted by fears that imported red-ribbon leeches, a favorite of a few walleye anglers, could have a bad impact on local ecosystems. The ban does not affect use of nightcrawlers — they are not “aquatic” animals.

Scootenay Reservoir walleye minimum-size restriction has been reduced from 16 inches to 12 inches.

As always, check current state fishing regulations pamphlets for rules specific to the waters you are fishing.


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