April 11, 2013 in Outdoors

Walleye limits increase to help bring balance

By The Spokesman-Review
Predator fish targeted

Washington is removing the daily catch limit for channel catfish and the daily catch and size limits for bass and walleye in portions of the Columbia and Snake rivers and their tributaries to reduce predation on endangered salmon and steelhead. This rule goes into effect May 1.

Anglers can pretty much catch Lake Roosevelt walleyes to their heart’s content this year under liberalized regulations designed to bring their populations into balance.

Since April 1, the walleye daily limit on Lake Roosevelt, including the San Poil and Spokane arms, was doubled from eight to 16. The rule is among dozens adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in March.

In addition, the Spokane Arm has been opened to year-round walleye fishing as the traditional spawning period closure was lifted for the first time in three decades.

Chris Donley, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department lake fisheries manager said the changes seek to bring the walleye population back into balance with their forage fish.

Eventually the result should be longer, fatter walleye, he said.

“We’re asking anglers to help us out and get walleye numbers reduced,” he said. “Catch rates eventually will go down, but quality should go way up.”

Anglers appear willing to comply. The parking lot at the Porcupine Bay boat launch has been very busy.

“It’s not an anti-walleye maneuver; it’s a pro-management maneuver for walleye,” Donley said.

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