As part of that effort, WDFW has scheduled four public meetings in October to discuss its rule proposals with the public.
The proposed rules, which would affect various freshwater and saltwater fisheries around the state, are available on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/...ons/rule_proposals/. Printed copies of the proposals are available by contacting WDFW's Fish Program at (360) 902-2700.
The public meetings will run from 6-8 p.m. and are scheduled for:
Oct. 24 - Rotary Log Pavilion, 409 South Monroe, Aberdeen.
Oct. 25 - WDFW's Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.
Oct. 26 - Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E, Olympia.
Oct. 27 - WDFW's Spokane Office, 2315 North Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.
During the meetings, the public can discuss the proposals with WDFW staff and submit written comments. Comments also can be submitted to WDFW Rules Coordinator Lori Preuss at Lori.Preuss@dfw.wa.gov or 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA, 98501. All written comments must be received by Dec. 30.
The public also will have an opportunity to provide testimony, as well as written comments, on the proposed rule changes during the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission's Jan. 6-7 meeting. Check the commission's website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/) for the specific day and time.
The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to vote on the final sportfishing rules package during a meeting Feb. 3-4.
Sportfishing rules currently under consideration include:
Closing fishing early for steelhead and other game fish in several river systems in Puget Sound and along the Strait of Juan de Fuca to protect wild steelhead. The early closures, ranging from mid-January to mid-February, would apply to the Nooksack, Skagit, Stillaguamish, Snohomish, Green and Puyallup river systems, along with several streams along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The proposal also includes closing the upper section of the Samish River on Dec. 1 and the lower section Jan. 1 to fishing for all species.
Allowing anglers to fish with two poles on the Pend Oreille River and the lower Spokane River.
Closing fisheries on a number of small coastal streams that drain into Washington's ocean waters to protect juvenile anadromous fish.
Changing the opening day of the lowland lake fishing season from the last Saturday in April to the fourth Saturday in April.
Closing sturgeon retention in Puget Sound, as well as its tributaries. The proposal is designed to protect Columbia River sturgeon that venture into Puget Sound to feed. Under the proposal, catch and release fishing for sturgeon would still be allowed.
Fish Program (360) 902-2700