WDFW extends comment period on proposed rules for Puget Sound, coast sportfishing

fish & wildlife logoThe public will have more time to review proposed changes to fishing rules for Puget Sound and the coast under an extended comment period announced today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Under the new timeline, WDFW will accept comments submitted online through Nov. 12 – about a week longer than previously announced.

The extra time allows people to review and comment on recommendations submitted by the department’s North Coast Steelhead Advisory Group. The advisory group provided the following recommendations for protecting wild steelhead in several coastal rivers:

  • Requiring the release of all wild steelhead and rainbow trout on select streams.
  • Limiting the use of bait to times and locations hatchery steelhead return.
  • Requiring barbless hooks at all times in north coast rivers and allowing only one hook with up to three points.
  • Prohibiting fishing from floating devices on the Hoh River above Morgan’s Crossing.
  • Prohibiting fishing from floating devices equipped with internal combustion motors on all north coast rivers.

To review and comment on the advisory group recommendations and proposed sportfishing rules, visit WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/. The webpage has more information about the proposals as well as those not recommended for further consideration.

Fishery managers have recommended 50 proposals submitted by the public and staff move forward for additional review. One of those is a proposal on the lower Columbia River that was held over from last year in order to coordinate with fishery managers in Oregon.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposals at its Nov. 13-14 meeting in Olympia. Written testimony can also be submitted at the time.

The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to take action on the proposed rule changes at its December meeting.