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WDFW seeks public comment on liberalizing limits for bass, walleye, and channel catfish, and updates to game fish rules

Hello Fellow Bass Community Anglers ,

As many of you are already aware our "elected" state officials are looking to some serious changes on our freshwater fisheries by removing Limits of Bass . Therefore I wanted to provide everyone with some content about the topic and ask from everyone to either Send letters to the State and express your feed back or Either come out to join the WSBF at the briefing meeting being held in  Olympia on October 19th

@9:30 (see times below & web link 

Every letter matters and everyone attending the meeting matters !! 

9:30 AM

16. Implementation of House Bill 1579, and Freshwater Gamefish Rule Housekeeping - Briefing, Public Hearing

Staff will provide the Commission a briefing on rules liberalizing bag limits for walleye, bass, channel catfish, and freshwater gamefish in order to reduce the predation risk to salmon smolts.


Public Comment – This Item Only

Staff Report - Steve Caromile, Inland Fish Program Manager, and Craig Burley, Fish

Management Division Manager


These rule changes are being required of us by the passing ofSecond substitute house bill 1579 this past legislative session.  Specifically, section two of the bill.  This bill is carrying out recommendations from the Governor’s Southern Resident Orca task force, as it relates to Chinook abundance.


Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions on the bill or the proposed rule changes, but more importantly, please feel free to provide comment on the bill either online at the link provided below, at one of our public meetings in the next few weeks, or at the Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in October.  Your comments matter.


Please read the news release below, and feel free to disperse it to others so that they have the opportunity to provide comment if they wish.  The proposed list of lakes that will be affected by this regulation change is attached.


Steve Caromile

Warmwater Fish Program Manager

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

1111 Washington St SE

Olympia, WA 98501


Office: 360-902-8315

Cell:     360-481-4319



Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

September 17, 2019                                   

Contact: Steve Caromile, 360-902-8315


WDFW seeks public comment on liberalizing limits for bass, walleye, and channel catfish, and updates to game fish rules


OLYMPIA – Earlier this year, the Washington Legislature passed Second Substitute House Bill 1579, which directed the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to “adopt rules to liberalize bag limits for bass, walleye, and channel catfish in all anadromous waters of the state in order to reduce the predation risk to salmon smolts.”


WDFW is now asking for public input on a proposal to eliminate harvest restrictions for bass, walleye, and channel catfish in certain waters statewide, as well as on proposed updates to freshwater game fish rules.


The language in HB1579 was passed in part to implement the Governor’s task force recommendations meant to increase abundance of Chinook salmon, benefiting the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population. It would affect lakes, streams, and other waters throughout Washington.


Meetings on these proposals will be held at the following locations:


Mill Creek: 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 24, at WDFW’s Mill Creek office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd.

Olympia: 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Natural Resources Building, Room 175 A, 1111 Washington St. SE.

Ridgefield: 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, Sept. 30, at WDFW’s Ridgefield office, 5525 S 11th St.

Ephrata: 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1, at the Grant County Public Works Department, public meeting room, 124 Enterprise St. SE.

Spokane: 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2, at WDFW’s Spokane office, 2315 N. Discovery Pl., Spokane Valley.


To review and comment on the proposals, visit WDFW’s website athttps://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/season-setting/. The public can comment on the proposed rules at the meetings or online through Oct. 17.


The public is also invited to comment on several proposed updates and corrections to game fish rules around the state, including some that were previously updated during the rule simplification process in 2017.


The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission also will hear testimony on these proposals during its Oct. 18-19 meeting in Olympia. For the specific day and time, visit the commission’s website athttps://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission.


The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is expected to take action on the proposals at its meeting in December. If the commission approves these changes, the rules will take effect in early 2020.


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.


Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, seehttps://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/reasonable_request.html.


Dez Ruffin (WSBF President

Views: 469

Replies to This Discussion

That what I figured, thanks for attending

Just wanted to provide a summery of what took place this past Saturday in Bellingham . As Dana indicated ,

It wasn't Good but if nothing else our else caused them to modify the original proposal and the state voted to use WDW  Proposal option # B2 .

We ventured to Bellingham WA on Saturday to witness and testify each for our 3 minutes. We had 7 warm water advocates from our group speak out against the elimination of limits and attempting to limit the number of lakes based on the original intent of 1579 which was in regard to Chinook smolt only.


We were only partially successful but still feel that we lost a lot!  Craig Burley gave the WDFW presentation which is attached.  Steve Caromile sat next to him but did not say a single word throughout the presentation or discussion afterwards.  The importance of far reaching legislation is highlighted.  It is quite apparent that some within the WDFW are intent on eliminating non-native game fish in Washington State.


Our small group of 7 was able to make some clear points and have an impact on the final decision of the Commission through our previous writing campaign, submittals and to a degree testimony.  Not what we had hoped but better than we started with.  Some of our presentations focused on the misleading information that was given by Craig Burley.  In his presentation he attempted to represent that the department had worked together with the warm water advocacy group to come up with their presentation and new proposal.  We emphatically corrected Craig and expressed our deep disappointment and surprise that he and others within the department had purposefully ignored direct orders given by the Commissioners to work “with us” to develop the new proposal.  We also stated that is why we had submitted our own proposal and that any proposal developed by the department was done so unilaterally of our group.  Our group did a great job of pointing out the lack of science and the lack of metrics with regard to the impact of previous changes in the regulations.  Some also pointed out the flaws in the charts presented by Craig Burley.  We did not react to, but should have, to the pie chart showing 75 % of respondents approving the removal of limits.  That is a completely different chart than what was presented in October where we had 90% of the respondents indicating that they opposed the WDFW proposals.  We do not know where Burley came up with those numbers since, according to him, public input was to be concluded after the October meeting.  We believe that pie chart is a fabrication. 


In the end – we recommended that they enact liberalized limits on Chinook waters only. That would have limited the damage to our fisheries and somewhat fit into the WDFW proposed C 2 option.


The proposal that the commission approved, now known as Option B 2, removes limits on Rivers but maintains size limits while increasing (liberalizing) daily limits.  This option applies to 77 lakes and lots rivers and streams. 


We are disappointed in this result and this points out more strongly the need for us to move forward with legislation intended to protect and grow the warm water fishery in Washington State for the positive social and economic future that it represents. 


One important note – at the end of the meeting Commissioner Kim Thorburn made a motion that was approved.  This motion – I will get the exact wording – will instruct and require that the WDFW conduct research that will verify the effect of regulatory changes made on any bodies of water.  Her point is that the department lacks science when it comes to making changes and is shooting in the dark without regard to the net longer term effect of those changes. 

I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone that submitted Letters, Emails , Public testimony , etc .

All we can do at the end of day is at least make the attempts to protect our State Fisheries and be sure to 

remember these topics when it comes time for us to head to Polls to Vote for State Elected positions .  

Dez Ruffin (w.s.b.f. President)


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