Comments sought on Olympic fishing rules

Recreational anglers and other members of the public are urged to comment on proposed recreational fishing regulations changes at Olympic National Park.

The proposed changes are:

Queets River and Salmon River: This would change the wording of the daily limit allowed Sept. 1-Nov. 30. It would read “Release all wild chinook. Can retain two adipose clipped hatchery chinook”.

The retention of hatchery chinook salmon minimizes ecological or genetic risks of these hatchery fish on wild chinook salmon, said a park news release. Additionally, the retention of hatchery chinook in these two rivers improves consistency among several other park rivers, where retention of hatchery fish is promoted.

Five-year fishing moratorium on the Elwha River: The park, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and state Department of Fish and Wildlife are working to finalize a five-year moratorium, covering recreational, commercial and subsistence fishing in the river and its tributaries.

The fishing closure is designed to protect fish populations during dam removal and promote recolonization of the Elwha River system by salmonids and other fish species immediately after dam removal.

Lake Mills was closed to fishing Nov. 1, 2010, in preparation for the removal of the dams. The middle Elwha River (between the dams) and the upper river and associated tributaries in Olympic National Park will close to fishing on Nov. 1. Fishing opportunities may reopen in 2017 depending on numbers of returning salmonids.

High lakes in the Elwha basin within Olympic National Park are not affected by this moratorium and will remain open to recreational fishing each year from the last Saturday in April to Oct. 31.

To be considered in the final decision-making process, comments must be received by March 24.

Comments can be sent to: Superintendent, Olympic National Park, 600 E. Park Ave., Port Angeles, WA 98362.