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WDFW Fish Program
600 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501-1091

Sportfishing Rule Changes for 2017-2018

Commission approves saltwater fishing rules for 2017

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved nine saltwater sportfishing rules for the 2017 season during a public meeting Dec. 9-10 in Olympia.

One rule requires vessels fishing for bottomfish or halibut in Puget Sound to carry a descending device to enable anglers to safely return rockfish to deep water. Another will make it illegal to possess another person's shellfish or food fish in the field or in transit without written permission.

The commission adopted all but two of 11 proposed rules – #5 (untended shellfish gear) and #9 (heating of oyster shells) recommended by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In all, the department considered 66 proposed rules – most submitted by the public – during a selection process that began in mid-March of 2016. The nine rules adopted by the commission will take effect July 1, 2017.


Timeline for 2017-2018 Sport Rule Adoption Process

March 15 through April 30

Solicit proposals online for marine waters through an online process.

April 30

Deadline for submitting proposals.


Agency review of proposals.

Early August through September

Proposals placed on website for public comment.

August through September

Regional meetings with public to discuss proposals.

End of October

Deadline for the public to submit written comments on proposed sport rule changes.

November 4-5

Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting: Public testimony will be received for sport proposals.

December 9-10

Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission takes action on sport rule proposals.

July 1, 2017

Rules take effect.