Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Action Alert: Comment on WDFW's Proposed Rule Changes

WDFW is accepting comments on rule change proposals for the 2016-17 season, and a number of the proposed rules that have come up could dramatically reduce impacts on Olympic Peninsula wild steelhead, while simultaneously providing improved angling opportunities.

These include:

Rule #46 Implementing no fishing from a floating device on several North Coast streams - pressure on the Olympic Peninsula streams has increased dramatically over the last 15 years leading to increased catch and release impacts and risks to wild steelhead populations. Eliminating fishing from floating devices would reduce catch rates which still allowing a high quality experience for all anglers. 

Rule #47 Implementing selective gear rules on North Coast streams - see above. With more fishing pressure it's never been more important to have selective gear rules in place to ensure that fish are landed and released unharmed by anglers. 

Rule #48 Prohibiting wild steelhead harvest - This should have happened 20 years ago. Wild steelhead are too precious to be killed and the state should eliminate harvest altogether. These are the last few populations in the state that aren't listed under the ESA and eliminating harvest is one important step towards making sure they stay that way. 

Rule #49 Requiring a wild steelhead harvest tag - This would require anglers to buy a special tag to harvest wild steelhead and would limit guides to three harvest tags per year, which would further reduce harvest without banning it altogether. A small handful of guides account for a disproportionate amount of the harvest on wild steelhead each year and limiting the ability of their guided clients to retain fish would likely dramatically reduce harvest.

These rule changes were developed in collaboration with the North Coast steelhead advisory group, a diverse mix of stakeholders that include a handful of dedicated advocates for wild steelhead conservation.

Visit the site today and voice your support for these and other conservation oriented rule changes: