WDFW Seeks Public Comment on Liberalizing Limits for Bass, Walleye, and Channel Catfish

FinLuver

Active Member
So, if we have native anadromous fish in a system competing for food, space, or being eaten by non native fish, then removing all limits on the invasive species makes 100% sense. Why didnt they do this 40 years ago? I am all for it
Probably competed against their stocking programs of invasive species, which in turn helped to create opportunity and revenue for the various stakeholders. ;)
 

Shad

Active Member
I've never heard Chinook production associated with lakes. I thought that was mostly a Sockeye thing. I suppose there are a very few places (not named the Columbia River) where they migrate through lakes (makes a little sense in those places).

I suspect this action may be intended to save more planter trout than Chinook smolts. Maybe rotenone is getting too expensive, and they're "creating opportunity" for sportsmen, in hopes we can take over the invasive species control?
 

Shad

Active Member
To Billy's point... Does this mean it's all of a sudden safe to eat more than a meal or two a month on these species? What are they proposing people do with all those dead fish? Did anyone even consider that?

Weird. Not altogether bad in my opinion, but definitely weird.

We'll know the "Orca Task Force" is on task when they start proposing restrictions on open ocean Chinook fishing. We also know that's not likely to ever happen (until there's nothing left to catch).

I don't hold WDFW fully responsible for this stuff; the fisheries politics around here are an apparently immovable force. Left with no effective recourse, they're often forced to get creative.
 

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
So, lemmee see.... Chain Lake, Storm Lake, Panther, etc... have a small outlet creek that some fish may run up to spawn. I can address Chain as in the past I did catch searun cutts out of it. I suspect the real problem with lower populations of cutts, salmon and other anadromus fish is not bass up at the spawning areas but elsewhere. Those bass have probably been there since 1910-1920 and if so, why did they finally become a problem. Let's address the real problem and not a pimple on the face.
 

Steve Vaughn

Member
WFF Supporter
If I understand the Columbia River regs now, there is already no bag or size limit on bass and walleye downstream of Chief Joseph dam. This includes "all tributaries and their tributaries". So this change would only impact other drainages. I've only lived on the Dry Side of the state, so is there a significant population of these species in other West Side drainages and do they have bag limits? Skimming the regs I don't see bass or walleye called out on the river specific regs.

Also, the recommendations by the state do not exclude eating bass and walleye. In fact, walleye consumption recommendation is 8 meals/month. I do know that there are Columbia river guides who encourage returning large walleye (usually these are females) to sustain the population. No opinion one way or the other, but these guys also rely on steelhead and salmon fisheries. My limited experience with bass fishing the Columbia this summer (bought a boat this year) is the current unlimited take of smallmouth bass has not kept me from catching a boat load, even fishing off-peak times of the day and I am no expert.
 

longputt

Active Member
Is there any evidence that this works? I took a fisheries class from Gil Pauley many years ago and he had several examples where increased limits reduced harvest and reduced limits increased harvest.

I think this could be a baseless regulation change to passivate the orca folks.
 

b_illymac

Soap Lake Posse
WFF Moderator
If I understand the Columbia River regs now, there is already no bag or size limit on bass and walleye downstream of Chief Joseph dam. This includes "all tributaries and their tributaries". So this change would only impact other drainages. I've only lived on the Dry Side of the state, so is there a significant population of these species in other West Side drainages and do they have bag limits? Skimming the regs I don't see bass or walleye called out on the river specific regs.

Also, the recommendations by the state do not exclude eating bass and walleye. In fact, walleye consumption recommendation is 8 meals/month. I do know that there are Columbia river guides who encourage returning large walleye (usually these are females) to sustain the population. No opinion one way or the other, but these guys also rely on steelhead and salmon fisheries. My limited experience with bass fishing the Columbia this summer (bought a boat this year) is the current unlimited take of smallmouth bass has not kept me from catching a boat load, even fishing off-peak times of the day and I am no expert.
Where do you see 8 meals a month? I see 4 unless you are a women or child and then its like 1-2.
 

O' Clarkii Stomias

Active Member
Is there any evidence that this works? I took a fisheries class from Gil Pauley many years ago and he had several examples where increased limits reduced harvest and reduced limits increased harvest.

I think this could be a baseless regulation change to passivate the orca folks.
Very low hanging fruit.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
WDFW is responding to a directive from the Legislature. Legislators generally are not scientists (OK, some of them are probably political scientists, but that's a whole 'nuther story.) I think this a good example of why fish and wildlife should not be managed by Legislators.

Intuitively it makes sense to want to get rid of exotic predator species that prey on native species, like salmon, that are considered more desirable. Maybe there is more recent data indicating a change in predator-prey relationships, but one thing I recall hearing is that bass don't actually prey that heavily on juvenile salmon. The reason given is that water temperatures in the early spring when juvenile salmon smolt and begin migrating through the river reaches occupied by bass are too cold for the bass to effectively prey on the salmon. I don't know about walleye and channel catfish, but spiny ray species generally don't become really active until water temperatures climb above those favored by salmon.

So maybe this is feel good legislation and not ecologically driven. Anybody know for sure?
 

Steve Vaughn

Member
WFF Supporter

Should have been clearer. It was on the DOH website https://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/HealthDataVisualization/FishAdvisory and was specific to Columbia River - Lake Wallula (where I fish). I also had it backwards. They recommend up to 8 meals/month for smallmouth bass and even label it a "healthy choice". Walleye in the mid-Columbia is up to 4 meals/month. Sorry, I should have included the link/reference originally.
 

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