Commission Will Focus on Hunting Permits, Sportfishing Proposals at Olympia Meeting

State wildlife managers say increasing those permit levels will not pose a risk to Washington wildlife, adding that fees generated by applicants for a higher number of permits would be used to expand efforts to prevent property damage caused by wildlife.

The public hearing on new fishing-rule proposal, scheduled Jan. 7, is the last in a series of public meetings held around the state in recent months. All changes proposed by WDFW are posted at . They 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

The deadline for submitting written comments on these and other proposed changes in state fishing rules ends Dec. 30. Until then, comments can be submitted to WDFW Rules Coordinator Lori Preuss at [email protected] or 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA, 98501.