For personal use shrimpers, 2013 will be season one of a new age.
Having been granted a new policy mandate by a bigger chunk of the annual non-tribal share of the harvestable part of the spot shrimp population, beginning Saturday, May 4, recreational shrimpers also will get more time to gather their catches.
Heretofore, the non-treaty prawn or spot shrimp allocation was further split roughly 50-50 between commercial harvesters and personal use gatherers.
The nine-member Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, acknowledging the growing popularity of the catch-your-own fishery, recently shifted about 20 percent of the overall non-tribal quota over to the recreational side of the ledger.
Recreational shrimpers now will be working under a comprehensive 70 percent catch ceiling and this boon will get them, depending on the inside marine management area, from one to perhaps as many as 14 additional days to soak their pots in May. But depending on the scope of recreational and commercial activities in each managed zone, the catch quota shift actually varies from area to area in Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca waters.
Prawn seekers in our home waters are likely to be the beneficiaries of the latter and longer stretch of additional days, while inner Puget Sound pliers due to the complexities of allocation and the sheer numbers of recreational fishers will see the former, smaller increase in opportunity.
As a result of the transfer of catch allocation, management of recreational opportunity is changing with Marine Area 7. It now will be formally divided into three areas (7 East, 7 West and 7 South), each managed for their relative intensity of effort/catch to accomplish the overall adjustment in the take allocation.
The focus in May, on each open day, will be on the larger, deeper-dwelling spot shrimp and during this fishery shrimpers will be under a count-type daily catch limit of 80 prawns.
Here's an area-by-area rundown (first pot drop date and subsequent open periods) for the spring prawn or spot shrimping seasons:
( Marine Area 4 (east of Tatoosh Bonilla line) - daily starting May 4 at 7 a.m. each day, until Sept. 15 or sooner if sport (personal use) quota is landed.
( Marine Area 5 - daily starting May 4 at 7 a.m. each day, until Sept. 15 or sooner if sport (personal use) quota is landed.
( Marine Area 6 (except Discovery Bay shrimp district) - daily starting May 4 at 7 a.m. each day, until Sept. 15 or sooner if sport (personal use) quota is landed.
( Discovery Bay Shrimp District (in Marine Area 6) - May 4, 8, 15, 18 and 22 only, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day. Additional openings possible if sport quota remains.
( Marine Area 7 South and 7 East - May 4 at 7 a.m. then May 8-11, May 15-18 and May 29-June 1. Additional openings could occur if sport quota remains.
( Marine Area 7 West - starting May 4 at 7 a.m., then open Wednesdays to Saturdays each week until June 1. From then on 7 West will be open Thursdays to Saturdays until Sept. 15 or sooner if its sport quota is reached.
( Marine Area 8.1, 8.2, 9, 10 and 11 - May 4 and 8 only, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Additional openings could occur if sport quota remains.
( Marine Area 12 - May 4, 8, 15, 18 and 22, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Additional openings could occur if sport quota remains.
( Marine Area 13 - daily starting May 4 at 7 a.m. each day, until May 31 or sooner if sport (personal use) quota is landed.
Closes May 31.
( Ocean coast areas 1, 2, 3 and 4 (west of Bonilla-Tatoosh line) - Open year-round, daily.
A personal use or recreational season will continue after June 1, but under a maximum depth (150 feet) fishing restriction and only the smaller humpback, dock and pink shrimp may be retained at a daily 'weight' rate of 10 pounds (heads on) per angler.
GEARING FOR SPOTS
Individual sport shrimp fishers may deploy two pots for which the regulations set specific overall dimensions, construction and mesh sizes.
However, on watercraft there is an overall limit of four shrimp-dedicated pots that may be onboard at any given time, no matter how many fishers there are.
As mentioned, there are differential daily bag limits for spot and other species of shrimp and there are no minimum size restrictions for any shrimp. In multiple occupant boats each shrimper must have his or her own separate storage container.
There are also differential rules for de-heading shrimp that must be adhered to.
To be able to set and leave your two shrimp pots, they must be on separate lines, each with its own buoy on which legal ownership identification must be written.
DIALING IN SHRIMP SEASONS
For the rest of the details governing recreational shrimp fishing in 2013 see the 2013-14 Fish Washington sport fishing rules pamphlet when it comes out the first of May. For the online version, log on to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.
For announcements of early catch cap closings and additional openings go to wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/shrimp/and select the appropriate shrimp management marine area or district.
ALL FALL LONG HUNTS
The opportunity to buy one of 9,500 special Washington permits (8,500 deer and 1,000 elk) allowing their bearers to hunt with key limitations from first of September to end of December or until they get their big game quarry will be awarded by lottery in April by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The deadline for submitting an application for either one or both drawings for these so-called multiple-season permits is Sunday, March 31.
Hunters whose names are drawn may purchase the special tag that enables them, using the weapons appropriate for each, to participate in archery, muzzleloader and modern firearm general hunting seasons for deer or elk in 2013. Including transaction fees, the permits do carry a price of $182 for residents and nonresidents, over and above the cost of an annual basic hunting license.
Hunters can apply only once for each species drawing and if chosen and they acquire this permit they are limited to harvesting one deer or elk during the general season. However, unlike other hunters, those drawn for a multiple-season permit are not restricted to one type of weapon when applying for special permit hunts for deer and elk.
Winners who purchase the multiple-season elk tag by Aug. 31 can participate in general elk-hunting seasons in both Eastern and Western Washington.
Multiple-season permit drawing applications are available at authorized over-the-counter license dealers listed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/, or by calling (866) 246-9453. The application e-forms cost $7.10 for residents and $110.50 for nonresidents.
Pre-purchase of a 2013 hunting license is not necessary to submit an application, but successful entrants must get their basic hunting chit before they may buy their multiple-season tag.
Hunting licenses and the multiple-season tags can be purchased from local license dealers, on the Internet (http://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/) or by calling (866) 246-9453.
For more information, visit WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/, or call the licensing department at (360) 902-2464.
Tom Ohaus of Angling Unlimited, a saltwater charter service operating out of Sitka, Alaska will speak at the Wednesday, March 20, meeting of the Bellingham Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers.
In a word, Ohaus and his fellow Southeast Alaska skippers are moochers - not the cadgers of someone else's largesse, but champions of the tempting salmon with the simplest of terminal tackle, a cut-plug herring/slip sinker rig.
Ohaus will share his secrets for the freehand finesse bait fishing of both chinook and coho salmon with light tackle, which has come to serve his clients very well in the salmon-rich waters around Sitka. AU also challenges that area's bottom fish big three, halibut, lingcod and yellow eye rockfish, with similar bait and jigging tactics.
Planning also is in progress for the chapter's 2013 summer salmon season kick-off derby that is set for July 12-14.
Guests are welcome to join club members for dinner at 6:30 p.m. before the 7 p.m. program at Nicki's Bella Marina Restaurant at Squalicum Harbor off Coho Way.
Number four of 15 events and next up on the Northwest Marine Trades Association's 2013 Northwest Salmon Derby Series, the Bellingham PSA derby's details and coming advance ticket sale information are available online at http://www.bellinghampsa.com/derby.htm.
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/outdoors.