Not a good WDFW story

I was in a boat trolling and casting at Humpy hollow. Lost 2 pinks and Landed one before we were boarded by WDFW. All well and good as it seems they do it to me any time of year I am out. I wasn't fly fishing today but buzz bombing it with my non fly friends.

This boarding was very odd. Two guys came in pissed off. They didn't ask about safety gear ( life jackets, flares, ect) but straight to licenses and gear. After looking and lecturing how our writing should be in blue or black pen and how the area 8-2 looked like 8-7 on one buddies card they took our licenses and said they'd be back.

They came back with tickets in hand. All three of us. "UNlawfully fishing with barbed hook". The barbs WERE pinched. I know this rule. I even pinch everything in rivers.(I pinch down till you run a finger over it and there is no catch on your skin) Apparently, this wasn't enough and in my pointing this out was told there was nothing we could do about it but pay the fine and listen to their story about a guy who caught a chinook with a treble and it damaged the fish so bad it floated on it's side when it was released. ( still trying to figure out how that pertained to us) Oh, and that they could have siezed the fish since they were "illegally caught"

I am one of those guys that cheers the WDFW for checking people. I applaud the efforts to catch those who are fishing illegaly.

Did I miss a rule all these years? Can you not pinch the barbs and have a bump where the barb was? There is no way the barb was even close to being able to hold a fish.

Seems likea BS revenue ticket to me and quite disappointing. I'm pissed,perplexed and it's really not a good feeling to 1) get a ticket 2) Get a ticket for something that I didn't do 3) Be lumped into the category of the mouth breathers who are really breaking the law.

This is actually the first ticket I have ever received from anyone. Completely ruined my day. Sorry for the rant. I'm really just stunned.


Active Member
Were you using single barbless, or barbless treble hooks? I'm not sure because i don't fish trebles, but I believe treble hooks are illegal, even if barbless, if fishing in an area for salmon where wild fish must be released


Ugly member
If you indeed were fishing with the gear you have described (single point barbless hook), then it sounds like the Wardens were just PMSing becuase they had to work (collect revenue for the State). I know buzz-bombs come with trebles, I always just used to buy barbless hooks and replace them. Better then cutting two points off and pinching the barb on the remainder (a warden could still throw a fit about this).


still an authority on nothing
I heard it was ok as long as you couldn't slide a dollar bill under the pinched barb, but what do I know?
The officer made it sound like it was a done deal. I guess I am still pretty upset so I need to read the back of the ticket to see about fighting it.

If they wanted a donation to help the fisheries I would have gladly donated but to get it this way.....

It was a single hook. We just stash and trash the trebles. It is just automatic being a fisherman. I am sure you all do the same thing with flies. Some hooks I have come with a barb and I just pinch it after I tie but always check before I tie them on my line. I pinch them down and run my finger over it to see if I feel any "catch". If I don't then I used to assume it was good.

When I said " There is no way that barb is showing" The WDFW kid broke into the story about how they caught a guy with a king that hooked a fish with a treble and it was a native so in the release the fish was so torn up it flated sideways on the release.

I guess looking back at it the story really stunned me as we were not using trebles, not targeting kings (not legal in 8-2) and there was no barb on my hook which I keep feeling over and over again. (While he was telling the story I remember thinking WTF? ) Maybe I should have been an @$$ to them but I don't know what that would have gotten us.

Last thing they said was "stay safe" ?????

I know nobody here knows me from Adam and my side is exactly that, my side. The ticket is $80. Do I waste my time in court or pay it. It's not a money issue.
It's obviously a matter of principle. Take it to court and have your day in front of a judge. That it what the process is for. Fight the good fight. Whatever is decided is decided and you know you followed the process and hopefully are able to affect change.
I would take it to court, the cop probably wouldn't know a barbed hook if it was stuck in his posterior.

I say this with twenty years in law enforcement and a bachelors degree in criminology, I am not anti law enforcement. Not all the guys wearing the badge should be, and not all of them understand the laws.

Read the law he says your breaking not just the regs book. Be prepared to say concisely why you are not guilty of what you are accused of according to the law, not what the cop says.

Take the hooks with you to the judge.

Take your fishing buddies with you they probably have the same trial date.

n short as the boy scouts say..... Be Prepared.

So I read this and got to thinking, just what do the over the counter regs say. You know the ones, that most everyone has and quotes and which refer you to the "full regulations" for further information...(I swear Wa State has people hired just to make the rules a confusing as possible and determine the most inappropriate times to change them with only a small newspaper notice) :beathead:(I want that job);)

From the handbook:
This pamphlet is a summary of fishing regulations (Chapters 220-12, 220-16, 220-20, 220-55, 220-56, 232-12, and 232-28 of the Washington Administrative Code, adopted by the Washington Fish
and Wildlife Commission; and Title 77 of the Revised Code of Washington, adopted by the Legislature). This pamphlet does not contain nor is it intended to contain all Department regulations.

Anyway, out of 56 referances to the word barbless, there are only two referances defining a barbless hook in any manner. The other 54 referances simply state that "barbless hook required" Those other 2 referances state:
A hook from which all barbs have been
deleted when manufactured, filed off, or
pinched down.

(2) In “Fly Fishing Only” waters, an angler may
use only the following tackle: up to 2 flies,
each with a barbless single-point hook, not
to exceed ½" from point to shank, and a
conventional fly line.......

Now my curiosity is really up so I sent an email to WDFW for a clarification. :ray1: Now it is wait and see if I get an answer. Also inquired about where I could find the "official full regulation"
and whether or not that was web accessable.

Let you know what I find out...

IMHO, I would take it to the judge. I know time and money are involved, but this just is not right.


Active Member
If things are as you state I find you note disturbing. I would fight the citation. Most unfortunately it will cost the State (us) more than the potential $80 in revenue to process this case against you, especially in these difficult economic times.

Besides fighting the citation, I would send a note complaining the of the situation ,just as you did in you posting, to the WDFW. Use both the WDFW complaint link below and send the same note to the warden’s supervisor. That link is also below. Also send a note to the States Attorney General, his representative is going to have to spend time trying to settle on some type of a plea, just like a traffic citation. Addition recipients to be cc’ed should be your State House and Senate representative letting them know that this is a waste of our tax dollars, They allocate our tax dollars to WDFW. Finally if you argue this case, some judge is going to have to take the time to hear it. What does that cost in time. So send the same note to the State Court Administrator. Again see the link below. And finally to top it off, send the note to the Governor, herself as well.

CC them all in on the same note so that the supervisor of the wardens that wrote that citation understates that if his wardens have a bad day, they should come to him and complain and not take it out on the little guy.
Wow, that is completely opposite to my last meeting with WDFW. Two officers based out of Port Orchard. They asked to see my lic. how was fishing, I said got nothing yet (I was mooching), had my fly rod and a spinning rod in holders. One officer ask "so no fish on board?" I said no, I can open the coolers if they would like to see, he replied "no thanks". Gave me back my lic. We talked a little, I said it was good to see them out and checking people and they responded with a thanks for the support.

I would take the advice and write a complaint and take the tickets to court.

I would like to see that RIB with the 200hp suzuki go at WOT.

Gary Strassburg

'cuz chicks dig scars
What a rotten deal... I would dispute the ticket as well... No where in the regs does it say that a barb can't be pinched down. Nor does it explain as to how far a barb has to be pinched. I pinched a barb on a 2/0 Gamakatsu hook the other day, and it snapped off. So there was no barb... just a little nubbin'. I wonder if that would have landed me a ticket with the 2 officers that boarded your boat.