WDFW Commission to Consider Sportfishing Rules, Multi-Season Hunting Permits

The proposals range from closing steelhead fisheries earlier in a number of rivers in the Puget Sound area to allowing anglers to fish with two poles on the Pend Oreille River and the lower Spokane River. All changes proposed by WDFW are posted athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/.

 In other action, the commission will consider a bid to increase the number of multiple season hunting permits issued each year.

 Since 2006, WDFW has conducted annual drawings for multiple-season hunting permits, which allow a certain number of hunters to participate in all general hunting seasons for deer and elk. Without the special permit, hunters must choose among archery, muzzleloader or modern firearm seasons.

WDFW has proposed increasing the number of deer permits from 4,000 currently to 8,500, and the number of elk permits from 850 to 1,250. State wildlife managers told the commission in January that increasing permit levels will expand hunting opportunities without posing a risk to deer and elk populations.

Also during the February meeting, the commission will consider a 165-acre land acquisition in Okanogan County for fish and wildlife habitat.

 The commission also will receive briefings on the 2011 Puget Sound recreational and commercial crab fishing seasons, changes to the recreational clam and oyster seasons on Puget Sound beaches, the Wildlife Program, the Colockum elk herd, sanitary shellfish enforcement, and the inland fish stocking strategy and marketing plan.