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I'm getting a little tired of telling bait-chuckers that it's illegal to use Power Bait at Rattlesnake. Honestly, I have absolutely nothing against the use of a bait where it's legal; I also have nothing against keeping a hatchery fish or three for some dinner. But Rattlesnake is the one lake within spitting distance of Seattle (at least the only one that I know of) that mandates special regulations (single barbless hooks on artificial lures), and it really irks me that so many people are blatantly breaking the rules on this nice little fishery, when there are so many other lakes in the area that ALLOW the use of bait.

In a perfect world, it'd be nice if people read the regulations and followed them. Alas, this ain't no perfect world. I'd like to see better signage around the lake CLEARLY stating the rules. This would deter uninformed anglers from using their Power Bait, and it would put more pressure on the people who knowingly break the rules, as every hiker and biker and angler in the area would know what's what, and would hopefully frown on said rule breakers.

The questions are, what kinds of signs do we need, and how can we get them put up? Do we need to petition WDFW? Could we donate money toward the cause? Maybe simple paper signs attached to trees (ala the wild steelhead release signs that you see on local steelhead rivers) are all we need. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? Any ideas? I'm short on knowledge but eager to help, so if anyone wants to tackle this with me, just say the word.
 

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I just posted the same message on the WashingtonLakes board. I've been tempted to make my own signs and put them up myself. They'd just get ripped down by the local punks who think they own the lake, but I'd just put up more... I was thinking ether posting them on trees, or making signs that are like those campaign signs you see in yards.

The other problem is that many of the poachers don't speak english. Anyone know how to say - NO BAIT in Russian??

I fish there regularly since it's only 5-10 minutes from my house and every time I see poachers.

Friday one punk purposely launched his heavy sinker toward my canoe (that had my wife and 2 young kids in it) and then chuckled to his white trash buddies that he almost nailed us... :REALLYMAD
 

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And you can guarantee that every guy out there trolling pop gear has a big ol crawler dangling off the end.

To bad, Rattlesnake is a perfect place for those like myself who want a quality, selective gear lake. I much rather catch fish, and SIZABLE fish than fry up what i catch. I go fishin for R& R, Safeway takes care of the grumblin in the tummy...

My rule now, an occasional fish fry is ok if it's caught that day. No stockpiling fish in the freezer.

Plus...big ones should be ALWAYS tossed back for the next guy to catch.

My vote for Rattlesnake: fly fishing only, C & R, year around as water level permits.
 

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Patrick
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I was out on Rattlesnake on Saturday and the fish and game was at the boat launch for awhile checking and writting tickets while they were there. So at least fish and game is trying to enforce on the lake the rules. He also walked around the lake a bit. Later in the day a couple kids on the beach yelled out looking to buy some power bait and 3 other fishers yelled at the kids that that type of fishing is not allowed on Rattlesnake. I agree though that the lake needs more and better signs then just the one small one that I have seen at the boat launch. I think also that the the fish and game needs to give out the reg book with the purchace of the lic instead of having to ask for it and its not coming out until a month after opening day or two months for some of the lakes on the East side of the state. This also would help inform others of the rules. The ticket price of $500 and $50 per fish also being posted on the signs might put a little fear into the law breakers. Just my two cents worth.
 

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I totally agree. I was there last Sunday and I saw no signs about selective gear. What even disturbed me even more was seeing a guy carrying his five fish limit as he was getting out of the water and every fish was eight inches or less. I know it's legal to keep trout but I have caught several of those miniature trout in that lake it and it would take a full five fish just to make a trout sandwich! If the state wants to start calling it a premium fishing lake, then there needs to be signs around the lake stating the regulation. In addition, my opinion is there also needs to be catch and release or a one fish limit. That will naturally keep the guys off that lake that fish just to take home as many as possible. With thousands of lakes in Washington State, King County deserves to have some premium lakes. It seems like many of the western States have figured this out, so why is our state so slow? How much money is our state loosing because so many of us go to Montana, Idaho, and Oregon for decent trout fishing? We drive for 6-12 Hours, stay in hotels, buy out of state licenses and pay for guides just to have a good fishing experience. We have the Yakima and a few other places but that's small percentage compared to other States. It also gets a lot of pressure. So I lets push to get lakes like the Rattlesnake up to par with what a good premium lake should be. A larger average trout size, signs around the lake, catch and release or one fish limit of 14 inches and enforcement!
 

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Dano, when I have my kids with me, I grab the spinning rod and troll needle fish, flat fish, spinners, ect - with single barbless hooks. Sometimes I'll add some ultra light 'pop gear', but the stumps in the lake eat that stuff for lunch. I see lots of guys doing the same thing.
Most poachers I see are on the bank, but I've seen a few kids in rubber rafts dabbing on the power bait...
I should also note that I know several guys who like to add a dab of smelly jelly, power bait, or a pinch of worm to a fly like a carey special when legal and fishing is slow. So float tubers dragging around wooly buggers could just as easily be poachers as those using 'conventional' grear at Rattlesnake. I do agree about the lake being C&R though...
 

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It would also be nice to have signs on the rivers identifying the boundaries that are in the regs. For example, a friend and I were on the Skookumchuck yesterday and the regs say no fishing from the outlet of the hatchery to 400' downstream. Not only was it difficult to find the outlet (we never did), but then measuring off 400 feet would have been almost impossible. We chose to start fishing quite a ways down river where we knew we were safe. A number of bait fishermen were fishing right at the hatchery though, and when we asked, all we got were blank stares. They had no idea what the regs said.

A simple sign that said "No fishing between this point and the hatchery" would suffice.

I've had the same issue on the Kalama when it separates the areas by the names of creeks that may or may not exist. The regs will say something like "open on (dates) from the Road X Bridge to the mouth of Y Creek" Either I can't find the creek or there are a million little feeder creeks and who knows which one it is.

Signs like these may not do much to deter the irresponsible fisher who is going to do whatever he or she wants regardless of the regs, but they would help those of us who want to do the right thing. (Or at least they would help me)

Trouthunter
 

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I totally agree with everyone. I was there two weeks ago and saw a few guys poaching. I'm a pretty big guy and I'll row my pontoon boat over to anyone and give em a piece of advice; pack up and don't come back or get a knuckle sandwich. don't get me wrong, I'm a nice guy, but I see this crap at rattlesnake every single time I go. Another good idea is to take a cell phone with you and call the state patrol. they will contact the fish and game and hopefully get there in time. the key is to be stealth about what you're doing and don't let the poachers see ya or hear ya make'n the call(remember sound carries across a lake a long way). anyway, the signs at the lake our in poor locations, I found one in a spot the was very hard to see. I would be in full support of making this lake more selective with bigger fish in it. All you guys have the right idea and we should all get together and due some of the things being discussed in this furom.
 

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Not to be too far off the subject of Rattlesnake Lk. here, but...

Lots of us folks here on this forum also go to the Columbia Basin "quality" trout fisheries (Nunnally, Lenice, Dry Falls, etc.) and I've seen a share of this activity there also.

In the last few trips in May to Lenice/Nunnally, every time on the banks are those willfully ignoring the regs. E.g., 5 gal. buckets with the 'catch' and 'grappling size' barbed trebble hooks with florescent pink garlic flavor Powerbait.. you get the picture. Sometimes, it's just local migrant workers whom are feeding a family, sometimes its locals (other) that just want a 24" fish for the freezer (even though they don't taste all that good from desert lakes anyway).

Okay, the lakes mentioned DO HAVE VERY CLEAR SIGNS at the parking areas in English and Espanol, so unless people can't read...

The exception is that I've seen the WSDFG officer up in the observation lot above Dry Falls on a few occasions with a spotting scope 'watching the lake below'.

I'm not trying to preach C&R and proper regs and ettiquite to everyone there either. Some like C&R, and flyfishing, I do for certain; nonetheless others prefer to toss hardwear and bait; it is a free country -BUT like others have said, there are pleanty of places for that.

Now back to Rattlesnake. In the years I've been there, I agree there does seem to be an element of rule breakers. Just look at the surface of the water - floating bits or orange Powerbait?!

I suppose with state budget cuts etc. the enforcement will not be what we can hope, and they can't be everywhere all the time. I kind voice to those who 'may not know' (even thought they really do) about no bait at Rattlesnake can sometime work if presented the right way and not in a threatning way or 'I'm better than you' fashion.
Some will never listen, and so it goes. It's not worth confrontation.
Which is what can happen up on the Middle Fork of the Snoqaliamie in places. Taylor R.? Remember, lots of shady types are packing sidearms up there - so it can take some tactfulness to know when is a good time to speak the virtues of C&R and selective regs;-)
 

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Maybe I was a bit rash in saying what I said about this issue. It's only happened once that I guy who was using powerbait after I informed him that this lake was a selective fishery started throwing four letter words at me. I was with my father so I was going to let it go, but he kept up with his cursing, telling me that flyfishermen are a bunch of p***ies. I had to defend our honor. I rowed over to the shore and he quickly picked up and bailed. I admit I was ready to throw down with this dude. The last time I was there a guy with his wife and kids came down to the boat launch to see how the fishing was, asking me about the lake and what not. He was shocked to learn about the rules, I gave him a smile and said try a spinner or something. he said thanks for the help and went on his way. 90% of the people would obey the rules, the problem is they are not informed. more signs would definately help out a lot. So please don't think I'm a bully or something, I just get fustrated with this problem as I fish Rattlesnake quite often. :HAPPY
 

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Chad,

That group of Russians you encountered are responsible for most of the vehicle breakins around the Upper M & S Fork Snoq trail heads. Was pretty positive about that already but then had it confirmed by a couple County Deputies. Usually they'll be found in groups of 4-12.

Not trying to get down on a particular group, but those individuals are one of the main reasons I pack a side arm when I hit the rivers up here. My point is if they are there, I'd suggest keeping your vehicle in sight.

~Chris
 

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Here's a simple solution to PowerBait poaching:

All flyfishermen should bring a small pellet gun and when a PowerBaiter is seen...pop em one in the butt! It works for dogs chasing cars???

And I agree with the guy that posted previously, a flatfish with a single barbless hook is a marvelous way to keep the attention of a kid. I've caught hundreds of fish on a frog flatfish size f4. My Dad and Uncle thought I was crazy when I was out with them last year at Jameson and clipped off 2 of the hooks on my flatfish, and crimped the barb. Some people will never get the C & R idea.

I might however keep 2 for dinner next trip there, gotta eat fish once in a while??
 

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The guys that refuse to learn anything but sitting on their butt watching a bobber attached to a worm just get jealous because the lakes that support their rules don't fish well after they have kept all of the planted fish. I'm not saying they are stupid, just a little lazy and stubborn. I'm sure there are lots of flyfishers that have put their tush time in on the beach or dock before picking up a fly rod. The key is clueing some of these people to the benefits of flyfishing and C&R, particularly kids. Then we will have greater support for converting more put and take water to quality managed fishing.
 

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Hit the lake again last night around 7-8:30 with my 2 yr old son. Fishing was slower than usual, but we still C&R'd 5 pretty little fish.

Didn't see any obvious poachers. One woman and here 3 (or so) yr old daugher were looking pretty guilty though. From a distance, I could have sworn I saw her with a spinning rod fishing, but whenever I got close, she'd walk away and start pointing out the ducks to her kid. This wouldn't be weird, except she was on an pretty 'remote' part of the lake (ie - a long way from any trail) and never left the general area the whole time I was there.

Say 'hi' if you see me out there. Just look for the green 'old town' canoe with a trolling motor (flat transom canoe) and usually a 2 yr old with me.

-Chad
 
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