OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will take action on proposed simplified recreational fishing rules for Washington rivers, streams and lakes during its public meeting Jan. 18-20 in Ridgefield.
The commission also will receive a briefing, and potentially provide guidance, on a proposed management plan for harvesting Puget Sound chinook salmon.
The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene each day in Room 102 of the Region 5 Office, 5525 S. 11th St., Ridgefield.
Beginning at 1 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 18, commissioners have scheduled an informal discussion of administrative and operational issues. On Friday, the meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. The commission will re-convene at 7 a.m. Saturday with an executive session, followed by the regular public meeting at 9 a.m.
An agenda is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/
On Friday, the commission will consider a package of simplified recreational fishing rules for Washington’s rivers, streams and lakes. The proposals are based upon general policies for freshwater species – such as trout, steelhead, bass, walleye, and panfish – that WDFW put forth for public review in September.
WDFW has proposed assigning most lakes, ponds and reservoirs to one of six standard seasons rather than setting custom season dates for each water body. Also, the department has proposed allowing separate daily limits for trout and steelhead rather than one combined limit.
The proposed rules, listed by geographical area, are available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/
In other business, commissioners will continue discussing the proposed Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Management Plan – the subject of a special conference call on Jan. 12 – and may provide guidance on the plan to WDFW fishery managers.
State and treaty tribal co-managers submitted the proposed plan, which guides the conservation and harvest of Puget Sound chinook salmon in Washington, to NOAA Fisheries on Dec. 1, 2017. An approved plan is required by NOAA for the state and tribes to hold fisheries affecting wild Puget Sound chinook, which are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The proposed plan is available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/chinook/
NOAA has already informed the state and treaty tribes that the plan is insufficient, noting that several key salmon stocks would not meet new — more restrictive — federal conservation objectives. For that reason, NOAA is asking the co-managers to provide more information and analysis on the conservation objectives within the proposed plan.
More information on the commission’s Jan. 12 conference call can be found on the commission’s webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2018/01/agenda_jan1218.html
Also during the Jan.18-20 meeting, the commission will consider:
- State wildlife managers’ recommendation to continue to classify the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse as threatened under state law.
- Two potential land acquisitions, including 1.3 acres in Whatcom County and 115 acres in Ferry County.
- State wildlife managers’ proposal to change rules for compensating commercial livestock owners for animals killed or injured by wolves. The changes are intended to increase clarity, streamline the process, and provide consistency with state law and the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.
- Other topics to be discussed among WFWD and NW walleye fishing guides is the up comming proposed walleye catch limits. Guides who are offering guided walleye fishing trips on the Columbia River are seeking clarification as to the catch limits to be allowed.