The public is being asked to comment on more than 70 proposed changes to the state’s fishing regulations.
Among the proposals is a change in the opening day of more than 100 resident trout streams to the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and expanding the use of two fishing poles, with the purchase of a two-pole endorsement, to 50 additional lakes throughout the state.
After taking comments through Dec. 15, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to vote on the sportfishing rules package during its February meeting.
The stream opening date change would open all resident trout streams on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend where anadromous fish are not present. Staffers with the Department of Fish and Willdife said opening fishing in resident trout streams on Memorial Day weekend would increase recreational benefits that could be provided by these waters.
The list includes portions of South Prairie Creek and Voights Creek in Pierce County, and parts of Kennedy Creek and its tributaries and the Nisqually River upstream of Alder Reservoir to the Mount Rainier National Park Boundary in Thurston County.
The department also is seeking comments to determine if the two-pole rule should be placed on “quality waters.” There are three options: 1. No action, leaving the two-pole rule on “quality waters” the way it is; 2. Allow two-pole on all “quality waters”; and 3. Allow two-pole on a portion of “quality waters,” based on staff and public recommendations.
Among waters under consideration are Kennedy and McLane creeks in Thurston County, and Rattlesnake Lake in King County.
Other proposed changes include:
• Converting Ohop and Long lakes into year-round fisheries, rather than having a set opening date.
• Open Minter Creek to trout fishing from the first Saturday in June-Oct. 31 with selective gear rules, a minimum size of 14 inches and a two-fish daily limit.
• Modify the fishing season for the section of the Deschutes River from Old Highway 99 Bridge on Capitol Boulevard (in city of Tumwater) upstream to the Henderson Boulevard Bridge near Pioneer Park so trout fishing is open year-round for catch and release. Selective gear rules would be in place except from September-Oct. 15, when bait is allowed and barbless hooks are required.
The department has created a webpage that includes information on proposed rules that fishery managers recommend move forward for further review and public comment, as well as information on proposals not recommended for further consideration.
Craig Burley, fish management division manager, said people can submit comments by using a new online form available on the website.
“The ability to submit comments through the website is one of several changes we have made to the process to make it more user-friendly,” Burley said in a news release.