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home Recent News, Washington Fishing News WDFW proposes simplified freshwater fishing regulations, seeks public comment

WDFW proposes simplified freshwater fishing regulations, seeks public comment


OLYMPIA – State fishery managers are seeking public comment on a proposed package of simplified recreational fishing regulations for freshwater species, such as steelhead, trout and warmwater fish.

As part of that effort, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled six workshops to discuss the proposed changes with the public.

To review and comment on the proposed rules, visit WDFW’s webpage at Comments will be accepted through Nov. 30. For a hard copy of the proposed rules, please call 360-902-2700.

Since last summer, state fishery managers have been working to simplify Washington’s fishing regulations for freshwater species, including steelhead, trout, warmwater fish, sturgeon, shad and carp, said WDFW Director Jim Unsworth.

“For years, we’ve heard from people about how our regulations are complex – even for some of the most seasoned anglers – and act as a barrier to people trying to take up the sport,” Unsworth said. “So we’ve been developing a set of regulations that will be easier for all anglers to understand.”

This is the first year of a three-year effort to simplify sportfishing regulations throughout the state. Next year, fishery managers are scheduled to work on salmon fisheries in marine and freshwater, while fisheries for shellfish and other marine fish will be addressed in 2019.

“We’re excited about this effort and look forward to discussing our first year of proposals at upcoming meetings with the public,” Burley said. “This is a great opportunity for anglers and others to help us make our recreational fishing regulations more user-friendly.”

The public workshops are scheduled for:

Changes proposed this year would apply to freshwater throughout the state, with some exceptions. Some of the changes include:

  • Standardizing the statewide season for rivers, streams and beaver ponds to the Saturday before Memorial Day through Oct. 31.
  • Eliminating mandatory steelhead retention in most waters.
  • Reducing the complexity of regulations – such as daily limits, size limits and seasons – in lakes and ponds.
  • Standardizing regulations in rivers and streams for bass, channel catfish, and walleye. Under the proposal there would be no daily limit or minimum size for those fish. 

This would provide almost endless opportunities for Northwest walleye fishing guides offering walleye fishing trips on the Columbia River.

The public will also have the opportunity to provide testimony on the proposals during the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission’s meeting Dec. 8 and 9 in Olympia. Check the commission’s website at for details on the meeting.The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to vote on the proposals during a meeting in January.




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