After looking back over such items as the two-stroke ban, AIS program, and now HB 1579, I guess the politically correct thing to say is I'm disappointed.
We had seven people speak on behalf of the new warm water limits, one person literally drove most of the night to make the board meeting in Bellingham. If you use the number of people simply as members of the Bass Fishing page here, (749), that's less than a one percent turnout. So, we had to accept an increase in catch limits, plus the fact that this fishery will be under attack again, especially when the numbers supporting a total ban on catch limits is so high vs our numbers in the board's mail bag.
When the AIS program was being initiated by the Whatcom County Council, only two of us were there to represent the bass fishing community. Then Councilman Ken Mann stated that bass boats are a primary source of contamination and recommended they be banned in ALL Whatcom County lakes. Our only advocate was Barbara Brenner.
So, now we have a two-stroke ban on Lake Whatcom based on an EPA document regulating air quality rather than water quality, AIS inspections on Whatcom and Samish, thanks to a survey in which three boats out of a thousand--all wake boats, all previously from Lake Osooyoos, and all three boats from Canada which found traces of vegetation, in them, and new catch limits on several lakes to mitigate the predation of salmon smolts. We all know this will have little affect on preserving salmon runs. What it will do (since they were successful previously) is put more pressure on the Federation to either reduce or eliminate warm water species from more fresh water bodies.
Think of what the average angler has invested in this fishery: a bass boat; a towing vehicle; numerous high end rods and reels; tackle; tournament entry fees; expenses to get to lakes and rivers. And yet we are losing traction here because some of us are too busy to copy a form letter, print it off, put it in an envelope and put a stamp on it, or show up at council meetings, or show up at WDFW board meetings. I don't know what will happen next, but our fishery will possibly disappear if we don't produce better numbers.
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