2013 WDFW Rule Proposals to Comment On
Looks like rule proposals to reduce harvest of wild steelhead and reduce angling efficiency will not be recommended by WDFW.
Sad that a no angling from floating device seems to have divided the wild fish advocate community. It seems that there were two types of disapproval of the "no fishing from floating device" rules.
The first was that people did not like the rule. Most in this camp fish out of boats and did not want to change their tactics.
The second were people who felt that they went too far and might have too much of an impact on the sportfishing community or only wanted the regulations to cover a watershed with minimal boat impacts.
I have a different take about a "pick one river" approach. I do think the rules should be approved for all of the rivers on the coast. If only one could be picked wouldn't you want the one not consistently meeting escapement, has massive boat pressure, and the data shows that up to 75% of the escapement is caught and released some years.
Forget the idea that it may cause the most impact to guides and anglers. Just based on the fish alone, the Hoh River should be the first with a no fishing from boats rule. It would have a real impact as long as WDFW still refuses to even deal with wild steelhead release, or bait bans.
We have made so much progress over the past few years. We have gotten hatcheries shut down. We have gotten wild steelhead management zones in place. We've won fights on planting Chambers Creek alien steelhead in the Elwha. We still have lots of work to do and time is running out.
Losing this is a step backwards. To hell if WDFW doesn't think we should comment on "no fishing from floating devices." Send them comments. Let them know that wild steelhead come first. They should come before the interests of those who fight every conservation idea such as most of the guides and the City of Forks. They were wrong on wild steelhead release, Snider Creek, Wild Olympics, and they are dead wrong on these issues.
More wild fish and a quality fishing experience are long-term economic engines that will benefit all of those who now oppose these regulations. Change is hard but it must come or the change we face is not what anyone wants to see.