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"The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is now accepting proposals from the public for changes in next year's sport fishing rules."

You can download, print and mail the form with your input. Personally, I'd like to see the upper Skagit River, above Bacon Creek, go to year round C&R to protect the native char and trout (except for salmon/steelhead spawning spring closure- basically June 1- Dec 1 C&R season augmented by the current spring C&R season below Bacon). So I'm going to go ahead and suggest the rule change. I think we have until mid-July to get the form in, but no need to wait!

http://www.wa.gov/wdfw/fish/regs/2004prop.htm
 

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I would greatly appreciate if members of this forum would back C&R for the upper Skagit or at the least, selective gear rules. There is limited access and the bait slinging catch n' keepers probably incidentily kill alot of wild steelhead and salmon smolts along with undersized other game fish (dolly/bulls under 20"). I know most of you won't drive the 2 1/2 hours to get up there but some of us do and need your help. It could easily be a world class trophy fishery with a reg change. Also, there are no longer any hatchery steelhead planted that far up so there is no reason to allow bait.

Thanks,
Randy

" When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee" Isaiah 43:2
 

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Be the guide...
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Sounds good to me.

Here are a few I'm going to send in for my local fishing interests:

Rattlesnake Lake - changed to C&R to reduce the blantant poaching by bait fisherman that can be seen 7 days a week. They could stock the lake with fewer fish because the big draw would be the hold-overs.

N and S Forks of the Snoqualmie - make Selective\C&R year round. Again - poaching is a problem at times. These fisheries could be a lot better if we could reduce the numbers of fish being killed.

Another thought I had was to elimate C&R in terminal salmon fisheries and make any incidentally snagged salmon part of the daily limit (but still unlawful to keep). If the limit is 2 fish, you snag 2 fish - you are done for the day. Would encourage folks to think about the technique they use. Even some fly fisherman think it's ok to snag every other fish they catch sometimes...
 

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Patrick
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Instead of changing Rattlesnake lake to catch and release only just a cutting down of the limit from 5 down to 2 with some type of size limitations I feel would be the way to go on that lake. This would cut down on the amount of people fishing and keeping while still allowing many to take their kids out for the day and keeping a few for the kids to get a chance to clean and cook their catch. Many people I have meet on Rattlesnake are taking their kids fishing for the childs first time and the kids are what we need to come to a love of the outdoors for our future and theirs. Most catch and keep people will not fish lakes that have only a one or two fish limit and the fisheries become very good. An example would be Merrill lake that as far as I know has not been stocked for many years but it still is a good place to fish. Limit there is one fish under 12" if my memory serves me right. Another example is Coldwater that has a one fish limit over 16". This also allows someone to keep a fish that is bleeding and would die any ways as long as its withing the size limits.
 

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What if the Skagit from Howard Miller upstream was listed as "fishing from a floating device is prohibited"...would this not only limit the water fished, but also, protect holding water that is not easily accessible from the bank. Granted it would mean "jet boat boys" would have to plant there boats on shore and share the runs.
 

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Be careful of what you ask for on the Skagit. A boat ban has been look at before and thankfully not implemented. The enviros tried to ban boats because of the eagles. All they did was ruffle the feathers of the wildcatters. Now, the wildcatters tried to get a wading ban once and all that did was piss off the fly guys and drift gear guys. Thankfully again nothing was done. If you try to ban fishing from a boat all you will do is piss a bunch of people off.

I think there are enough rules for the Skagit. What is needed is enforcement and education.
 

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o_clarki
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I don't know if you ever gone chum fishing, but it's almost impossible not to snag an occasional fish. Especially if you don't see the fish before you get the hit. Also chum have been seen to attack a fly without biting it, and then get snaged on it. I have never fished for pinks, but I would imagine you would run into the same problem. But I guess it's the intention that matters...

Personally I think, we should not try to put more laws on the book, and make it more complicated, but first enforce the ones that already exist. Enforcement of just basic restrictions is almost nonexistent. In the four years I fished in this state, never has anybody ever asked me for my licence. NEVER !:eek A ranger at the Olympic National Park asked me for my punch card once. That's it. My $.02
 

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I chum fish quite a bit. Same for pinks when they are in. I had days where I legally hooked 15 to 20 fish and not on fish was snagged or even 'lined'/'flossed'. But I've also been in spots where as you said, snagging one in 3 fish is hard not to do. So I find another spot or change my technique. Snagging fish is no fun to me...
I would much rather give up my chance to C&R 20 fish in a day on some terminal fisheries just to get those crackers out there who insist on setting the hook on every little tap (or just because they think salmon my be near). Let them get their 2 fish for the smoker and go home.

More enforcement would be great but it costs a lot more than updating\adding a new rule. So I'm just thinking of a more likely approach. I'm not sure what we can do to get more\better enforcement...
 

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Be the guide...
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I fish rattlesnake A LOT and don't see many kids out there. The few I do often are with ******* parents who toss out power bait with them. There are a few who troll around flies and gear and let their kids real in a few fish. But if folks really need to teach their kids how to catch, kill, and prepare trout, there are plenty of places to do that. Pine like is a great place to let them cast out a bobber and worm. Or better yet, teach them that C&R can be a fun thing too.

The problem I have with reducing the limit is that it will do little to nothing to cut down on those who come out and fish with bait. They often come out in big groups and fill up 5 gallon buckets. If they try to hide their bait from a gamie, they may just get away with it. But if no fish are to retained, they'll have to hide their bait and bucket\stringer - which will be much harder...

Those who really want to teach their kids about the outdoors and how to catch fish for 'survival' should take them on a hike into an alpine lake and let them have at a lake full of brookies.
 

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Patrick
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I run in to quite a few kids being taught to fish both with spin rods and fly rods at Rattlesnake lake. If you see a guy there in a red kayak say hi. I also fish Coldwater and Merrill a few times each year and the lower limit they have keeps alot of the poaching down. Why would someone go were they can only get away with one or two fish caught using bait when there are other lakes they can get 5. Now I am not saying the cutting down on limits does away with all illegal fishing heck no rule will, it just gives them less incentive to go there in the first place. The main trouble with Rattlesnake is it needs better signs around the whole lake and the game department mostly checks the guys coming in the boat ramp. I have seen the game department there twice in my 4 years fishing there. There is almost always someone on the backside of the lake using bait so the game department needs to get down there and write some tickets. I would also like to see the rules changed so that once the legal limit of fish are caught and kept you can not continue to fish at all for the day. This would go for all fish types.
 

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Just an Old Man
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I forgot what I was supposed to remember.

If your looking for something in reason how about a fly fishing only all year on the N/Fork of the Stilly. Or have it go to fly only on the 28 of Feb instead of closing down. Leave it open like the Regs say. I notice that they are having those meeting all over the state. It might be a good idea to go to one of them. This is just some thoughts of an old man.

Jim
 
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