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Column misstated bass club’s stand

In last week’s column on Washington fishing regulations proposals, I made an error that resulted in skewing the stand of a local bass club on limits for bass fishing in the region’s waters.

In one sentence I said that Inland Empire Bass Club members at the Sept. 26 meeting in Spokane Valley “oppose creating a statewide five-bass daily limit with no size restrictions on rivers and streams.”

The sentence should have said the club “opposes lifting limits and size restrictions on bass statewide.”

No official proposal has been made for a statewide five-fish bass limit, which bass clubs likely would support in contrast with the no-limit proposal they say is eating into bass populations.

“If this was their proposal, it wouldn’t be good but would still be better than the NO LIMIT and no size restrictions that they have proposed for rivers and streams across Washington,” said Craig Rita, IEBC spokesman.

The state’s no-limit proposal, which has exceptions, “opens the system to extreme predation by only a small number of anglers,” Rita said.

State fish managers say they are legally bound by the Endangered Species Act to protect struggling steelhead and salmon stocks in the Columbia River system. Curbing predator fish is one tool they use.

Chris Donley, Fish and Wildlife Department regional fisheries manager, also pointed out that smallmouth bass have boomed and are overpopulated. Increased harvest of smallmouth bass would generally result in larger bass, he said.

Comment on current proposed rules through Nov. 30 online at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website. For a printed copy of the proposed rules, call (360) 902-2700.