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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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One-pole limit a lame rule

The Spokesman-Review

I was not born and raised in Washington state. Therefore you’ll have to realize I do not bow down, pray to, nor kiss the lips of the rainbow trout.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve accidentally caught one from time to time, and given them away. I prefer more “challenging” kinds of fish, such as walleye and bass.

I have always wondered about the “one-pole” rule in Washington, so I decided to see how this lame law stays alive. I went to the Regional Fish and Game Office on North Division. A kind lady informed me the one-pole rule is challenged each January. (The board meets each January. Did you know that? I didn’t.) And that lame law stays unchanged year after year.

So I thought I’d take the quest a bit further and ask members of the commission just what gives here.

I found all nine names and the city where they live in the pamphlet provided by the kind lady. I located one close by and called. I left a message. It was returned that night. After introductions, I stated my case.

Montana allows two poles. Idaho says pay extra and fish with an extra pole. I asked why couldn’t a pole number 2 be bought for a fee, for example, an additional $10 per fisherman. To which the astute board member says, “you’re not in Idaho or Montana, you’re in Washington.” . . . Duhhhhh. As if I didn’t know that.

Wildly guessing, 2 million extra poles paid for by fishermen would generate $20 million extra dollars.

My logic continued by saying if the limit was five, and I was fishing with two lines, and I caught my limit, I would quit and go home. If the limit was 20, and I fished with two lines, caught my 20, I’d pack it in and go home.

And the exulted one’s answer was, “We provide a sport. If you want, why don’t you just go to the fish market and buy your fish?” Now that didn’t sit well with me. First of all, the big “we” this, “we” that. How about “we the license-buying fishermen?”

The nine-member board votes on this issue annually. This member votes to keep the one-pole rule, as do a majority of the other members, who, incidentally, are appointed by the governor and do not get paid to keep you only using one pole.

I learned a lesson in this endeavor: It’s hard to fight city hall alone. If more fishermen feel this way they should call their board member and whine. Also, petition the governor to appoint members who listen to fishermen.

Dary Liepelt


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