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Friday, October 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 53° Partly Cloudy
Sports >  Outdoors

Saturday’s opening day set to be last with new statewide fishing rules taking effect in July

Henry Fisher, 5, zeroes in on hooking a trout while his twin sister, Grace, shares the intensity of the moment during Kid Fishing Day, May 7, 2016, at Clear Lake. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Henry Fisher, 5, zeroes in on hooking a trout while his twin sister, Grace, shares the intensity of the moment during Kid Fishing Day, May 7, 2016, at Clear Lake. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

This Saturday area lakes will open for trout fishing much like they have for decades. It’s the marking of a ritual for many.

But come next year at this time, some of that will be different. New statewide fishing rules go into effect in July and for some area lakes that means there won’t be an opening day.

Instead popular lakes like Waitts Lake and Jump Off Joe Lake will remain open year-round. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said that the lakes will continue to be restocked with fish in mid-April, in an effort to coincide with the traditional opening day.

Other lakes that will now be open year-round include: Fish Lake, Lake Gillette, Lake Sherry, Thomas Lake, Ellen Lake, Diamond Lake and Sacheen Lake. For a complete copy of the new rules: wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2018/01/jan1818_09_summary.pdf.

The rules will also change default bag limits for lake kokanee and trout. Now the default statewide daily limit for kokanee is 10 with no size restriction. The default statewide daily limit in lakes will be five. Certain lakes will have exceptions and anglers should check before they go.

Additionally, boat motor restrictions will no longer be published in state fishing regulations. Those restrictions are set by municipal or county governments. In the past WDFW would adopt those rules and publish them in the annual fishing pamphlet. That required WDFW to monitor and track laws and ordinances across the state.

All these changes, and more, will take effect in July.

For this weekend, at least, the old rules still apply.

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