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Field Reports: Washington proposes simpler fishing regulations

FISHING – Simplifying Washington’s fishing regulations is the goal of 13 proposals that will be presented at public meetings across the state by Fish and Wildlife Department fish managers.

Public comment on a proposed package of simplified recreational fishing regulations for freshwater species, such as steelhead, trout and warmwater fish will be discussed on Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Pl. in Spokane Valley.

Many of the restrictions for specific waters – often sold in the past as ways to provide more opportunity and bigger fish – would be dropped. For example, the 9-inch minimum length limit for crappie meant to boost numbers of catchable size fish at Eloika Lake could be eliminated and returned to a statewide rule.

“For years, we’ve heard from people about how our regulations are complex – even for some of the most seasoned anglers – and act as a barrier to people trying to take up the sport,” said Jim Unsworth, agency director. “So we’ve been developing a set of regulations that will be easier for all anglers to understand.”

This is the first year of a three-year effort to simplify sportfishing regulations throughout the state. Next year, fishery managers are scheduled to work on salmon fisheries in marine and freshwater, while fisheries for shellfish and other marine fish will be addressed in 2019.

Examples of proposed changes include:

  • Standardizing the statewide season for rivers, streams and beaver ponds to the Saturday before Memorial Day through Oct. 31.
  • Eliminating mandatory steelhead retention in most waters.
  • Reducing the complexity of regulations – such as daily limits, size limits and seasons – in lakes and ponds.
  • Standardizing regulations in rivers and streams for bass, channel catfish, and walleye. Under the proposal there would be no daily limit or minimum size for those fish.

Public can review and comment on the proposed rules through Nov. 30 online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing.

For a printed copy of the proposed rules, call (360) 902-2700.

A meeting also is scheduled for Wednesday in Ephrata, Washington, at 6 p.m. at the Grant County Public Works, 124 Enterprise St. SE.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will hear more comment on the proposals at its Dec. 8-9 meeting in Olympia.

Institute experts lead hike to giant cave

GEOLOGY – Ice Age Floods Institute experts will lead two hikes to learn the geology of features, such as a giant cave arch, in central Washington’s upper Grand Coulee in October.

Geologist-authors Gene Kiver and Bruce Bjornstad will lead groups to:

    Castle Lake Basin: Oct. 7, hike 3.5 miles round-trip plunge pool lake and potholes east of Dry Falls Lake. Involves descent on fixed ladders.

    Giant Cave Arch: Oct. 8, hike 3 miles to a rock shelter cave.

Both hikes begin at 9:30 a.m. with return by 6 p.m. Kiver and Bjornstad are author of the guidebook “On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods.”

Camping near the hikes is available at Sun Lakes or Steamboat Rock state parks. A Washington Discover Pass is required on parked vehicles.

Register with the IAFI Cheney-Spokane Chapter, iafi.org/iafi.

Info: email froghollow@sisna.com.

Fire-safe project set on South Hill bluff

TRAILS – A volunteer work party to thin brush and prune trees to reduce fire danger on a portion of the South Hill bluff is scheduled for Saturday, organized by Friends of the South Hill Bluff.

“Fires on the bluff threaten the whole South Hill, not only those homes on the edge,” said Pat Keegan, the group’s president. “Currently we have a Forest Fire Risk Reduction Project on the bluff between 16th and 21st Ave.”

More volunteers are needed to get the project done, he said.

The group will work 9 a.m.-1 p.m. starting at the Ash Street and 16th Avenue trailhead.

Helpers should bring work gloves, and pruning tools if possible.

Info: Phil (509) 670-4649.


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