Among the fishing rules adopted Dec. 11 by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission, a number will impact anglers fishing South Sound waters. There also are significant changes statewide, including requiring anglers to release all wild steelhead they catch on several streams on the Olympic Peninsula.
The rule changes approved will modify fishing seasons, daily catch limits and other regulations for freshwater areas of Puget Sound and the coast.
One new rule will prohibit keeping wild steelhead on the Quillayute, Dickey, Bogachiel, Calawah, Sol Duc, Hoh, Clearwater and Quinault rivers — the only rivers in Washington where anglers are allowed to catch and keep a wild steelhead. The rule also prohibits the retention of wild rainbow trout on those eight rivers and their tributaries.
The change, designed to further protect Olympic Peninsula steelhead, will take effect July 1. The other rules adopted by the commission also take effect that day.
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Beginning next July, anglers will no longer be able to keep wild steelhead caught in the Quillayute, Dickey, Bogachiel, Calawah, Sol Duc, Hoh, Clearwater and Quinault rivers.
Here is a look at some other approved rule changes that will impact South Sound anglers:
Alder Reservoir tributaries and upper Nisqually River: The daily limit will be two trout over 14 inches long, with selective gear rules for all tributaries of the reservoir and the Nisqually River above the reservoir.
Black Lake Ditch: The ditch from the confluence with Percival Creek upstream to Black Lake will be open Nov. 1 through the first Friday in June for catch-and-release-only fishing.
Chambers Creek: From the mouth of the creek at the Burlington-Northern Railroad Bridge to markers 400 feet below the Boise-Cascade Dam, selective gear rules will be in place. Bait can be used Sept. 1-Oct. 15. All trout caught must be released.
Clear Lake (Pierce County): Increases the daily limit for kokanee from five fish to 10.
Flett Creek: Trout-fishing season now runs from July 1-Oct. 31, with a daily limit of two fish with a minimum size of 14 inches. Selective gear rules will apply.
Kennedy Creek: The season for fishing from U.S. Highway 101 upstream to barrier falls will be from the last day in February to Oct. 31, and imposes catch-and-release and selective gear rules.
Leach Creek: The creek is now open to trout fishing July 1-Oct. 31, with catch-and-release and selective gear rules in place.
McAllister Creek: Removes the barbless hook rule and implements selective gear rules.
McLane Creek: Puts catch-and-release and selective gear rules in place.
Minter Creek: Will be closed year-round to trout fishing from the river mouth to the hatchery rack.
The commission opted to exclude Summit Lake in Thurston County from the list of lakes that will be open for fishing year-round. The commission maintained the current season at the lake, from the fourth Saturday in April through Oct. 31.
Six South Sound lakes will be open year-round once the new rules take effect. They are Bay and Tanwax in Pierce County, and Deep, McIntosh, Pattison and Ward in Thurston County.
Another change removes the rule limiting anglers to keep only two trout that are larger than 14 inches in several lowland lakes. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is stocking these lakes with larger trout, making the requirement unnecessary.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
Summaries of the fishing rule changes will be available at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals by late January.