MATT SCHUBERT’S OUTDOORS: Trying to make heads, tails of new sportfishing rule changes

GOT ABOUT EIGHT hours?

Then you might be able to review and understand (that’s the hard part) the multitude of information in the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s 2010-12 sportfishing rule change proposals.

The document contains 103 proposals up for approval, a detailed explanation of new stream management policies and a listing of suggestions not supported and why.

Needless to say, one could spend all day pouring over it all.

Since I’m always looking out for you, my dear Peninsulites, I’ll make it easy and list some of the more ­Peninsula-centric suggestions.

Here they are:

•Dungeness Crab season and limit SEmDThis proposal would reduce the daily limit for Dungeness crab in all Marine Areas and change the days of the week the season is open throughout Puget Sound.

The daily limit would go from five to four, while Marine Areas 6 (eastern Strait), 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 12 (Hood Canal) would open Fridays through Mondays instead of Wednesdays through Saturdays.

It seems many people wanted to crab during both weekend days.

•Rockfish and bottomfish — There are a number of proposals on the table to protect rockfish species throughout the state.

1.) Bottomfish retention for all areas east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line would be prohibited in waters deeper than 20 fathoms.

2.) Areas 6-13 would be closed to the retention of rockfish.

3.) The Area 4 (east of the Bonilla line) limit is 10 black and blue rockfish combined.

4) The Area 5 (Sekiu) daily limit is the first black or blue rockfish caught, except west of Slip Point where the daily limit is the first three black or blue rockfish caught.

•Wild steelhead — Both the Hoko and Pysht rivers are proposed to be closed to wild steelhead retention starting in April.

Meanwhile, portions of the Hoh, Bogachiel and Calawah would see further restrictions on wild steelhead.

Selective gear rules would be applied to the Bogachiel from the Highway 101 bridge to the Olympic National Park boundary from the first Saturday in June through Nov. 30.

Both the South Fork Calawah and Hoh (from the Highway 101 bridge to the Olympic National Park boundary) would have selective gear rules and catch-and-release for wild steelhead.

There were several rejected proposals asking for the complete end of wild steelhead retention. One person even asked for native steelies to be released past a certain size.

Yet state surveys still show significant support for wild fish harvest.

So it doesn’t appear that will change anytime soon.

•Jefferson lakes — Leland, Ludlow, Sandy Shore, Silent and Tarboo lakes would be limited to a five trout daily limit, with no more than two longer than 14 inches.

Eells Springs Hatchery will begin producing more jumbo trout (14 inches or greater) in 2010. In order to keep costs the same, fewer catchable trout will be produced.

The new rules would spread out the harvest of the jumbos.

Of course, that all goes out the window if the lakes are closed due to elevated levels of toxic algae.

•Dungeness Spit clams and oysters — Dungeness Spit will be open May 15 through Sept. 30 to clam and oyster harvests in order to make the seasons standard.

Public comment

As always, the public is welcome to comment . . . even if it’s in the form of a long-winded rant.

Comments can be submitted by mail to Fish and Wildlife Rules Coordinator Lori Preuss at [email protected] or 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA, 98501.

The due date for comments has been moved up.

Now all written comments must be received by Dec. 1.

The public also will have an opportunity to provide written and oral comments on the proposed rule changes during the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Dec. 4-5 meeting in Olympia.

To view the entire package of proposals, visit www.wdfw.wa.gov.

________

Matt Schubert is the outdoors and sports columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column regularly appears on Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at [email protected]

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