Recreational crabbing resumed in nine marine management areas across Washington's inland waters Saturday, Oct. 13, and will likely continue to the end of December.
State shellfish managers determined that under the state-tribal catch-sharing plan, sufficient numbers of Dungeness crab (under the recreational catch allocation) were left after the summer season to reopen the following zones: Neah Bay (4), Sekiu (5), East Strait of Juan de Fuca (6), San Juan Islands (7), Deception Pass/Skagit Bay (8.1), Port Gardner/Port Susan (8.2), Admiralty Inlet (9), Hood Canal (12) and South Puget Sound (13) marine areas.
Because recreational catch ceilings were reached during the summer, two other Puget Sound crab management zones, Seattle/Bremerton (10) and Tacoma/Vashon Island (11) will stay closed this fall/winter.
REGS FOR CRABBING
In all these marine areas personal-use gatherers may fish seven days a week until a projected closing date of Monday, Dec. 31. However, earlier closures could happen if fishing effort exceeds projected levels.
All other crabbing rules remain the same and in effect including:
? A daily limit of five male Dungeness crab with shells (carapaces) measuring 6 1/4 inches or wider (not including the lateral points).
? A daily limit of six either sex red rock crab with shells (carapaces) measuring 5 inches or wider.
? Mandatory immediate recording of all Dungeness catches on the winter crab catch record card.
Besides their basic Washington fishing license, all participants gathering crabs for personal use from inland waters, regardless of their age, must carry a Puget Sound Crab Endorsement and a free winter crab catch record card.
PSCEs cost $3 (for annual) $1 (for short-term) for everyone age 15 and older, but are free to youth age 14 and under.
Every participant, regardless of age, when crabbing must carry a winter crab catch record card on which to tally takes. Catches for the fall/winter crab season must be reported in January. Winter catch record card-holders must file a report even if they caught nothing - and even if they didn't fish.
Summer crabbers who elected not to receive a winter catch record card do not have to report in January.
Anyone who is required to report and does not will have to pay a $10 civil penalty to get their next year's Puget Sound Crab Endorsement.
WHERE TO LOOK FOR CRABBING INFO
For fishing license fees, the online purchase of fishing and hunting documents as well as locations of license dealers (for immediate issuance of paper documents), log on to fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/.
Personal use gatherers of Dungeness crab can get more marine area-by-marine area details by checking into WDFW's crab centric Web page at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/.
Helpful PDF-form tutorials including the Puget Sound Recreational Dungeness Crab Guide can be downloaded from this Web page.
In addition, rules relating to lawful recreational crab gear, including the all-important "rotten cotton" knotted escape panels and other key pot attributes, can be found on page 139 of the Fish Washington 2012/2013 Sportfishing Regulations pamphlets.
These booklets are available at any Washington hunting and fishing license dealer or pdf versions can be downloaded or printed off WDFW's fishing regulations and seasons Web page at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .
COMMISSIONER TO TALK
Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Bradley Smith will speak and answer questions at the Wednesday, Oct. 17, dinner meeting of the Bellingham Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers.
The dean of the Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, Smith was appointed in June 2009 to a six-year term as a Western Washington representative on the nine-member panel that decides fish and wildlife management policy, including all hunting and fishing regulations. The commission also hires the director of the fish and wildlife department.
The club meets at 7 p.m. the third Wednesday each month in the upstairs meeting room at Nicki's Bella Marina Restaurant, at Squalicum Harbor. Those wishing to dine should arrive at 6:30 p.m.
This PSA chapter organizes Bellingham's annual summer family salmon fishing derby held at the start of the season each July.
The club donates part of the proceeds from this annual event to Whatcom County fishing enhancement programs.
Everyone is welcome to attend these gatherings, learn more about PSA and help with derby activities.
Candidates for appointment to five open seats on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Master Hunter Advisory Group may be nominated through Oct. 31.
The 15-member volunteer panel represents more than 2,000 master hunters statewide. Candidates must be certified master hunters who received special training that makes them eligible to assist WDFW in addressing specific wildlife-management issues.
Advisers are seated for three years (March 2013 to March 2016) and will attend at least four meetings each year in Ellensburg. They are volunteers and do not receive compensation, mileage or per diem.
Current vacancies include three geographically restricted positions, one representing the department's Region 3 (Kittitas, Yakima, Franklin, and Benton counties) and two from Region 6 (Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, Mason, Thurston, Pierce, Pacific, and Kitsap counties).
The two remaining openings are at-large seats whose appointees may reside anywhere in Washington.
To be considered for a position as a Master Hunter Advisor, applicants must submit a letter of interest by Oct. 31 to Sgt. Carl Klein via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by hard copy to WDFW Law Enforcement Program, Attn: Sgt. Carl Klein, Hunter Education Division; 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
These "applications" must include contact information (residential address, phones and email) for both the candidate and person or group making the nomination. They also must include a synopsis of the nominee's relevant experience and qualifications together with reasons why they want to serve as an adviser.
Find out more about the Master Hunter program at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/masterhunter/index.html.
Doug Huddle, the Bellingham Herald's outdoors correspondent, since 1983 has written a weekly fishing and hunting column that now appears Sundays. Read his blog and contact him at http://pblogs.bellinghamherald.com/outdoor.