Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife FISHING RULE CHANGE
WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

December 17, 2003

Fishing for smelt, herring and anchovy reopened in Hood Canal

Action: Reopens Hood Canal to commercial and recreational fishing for smelt, herring and anchovies

Effective date: December 17, 2003

Species affected: Smelt, herring and anchovy

Location: Hood Canal, which is Catch Reporting Area 12 for recreational fisheries and Marine Fish /Shellfish Areas 27A,B and C for commercial fisheries.

Reason for action: Fishing for squid, octopus, bottomfish, herring and smelt in Hood Canal was closed by emergency rule in mid-September. These closures were enacted to protect these species during a period of low dissolved oxygen in Hood Canal. Recent measurements of dissolved oxygen made by the Department of Ecology indicate that dissolved oxygen levels from the surface down to about 50 feet in depth are now adequate for aquatic life. However, dissolved oxygen levels at depths greater than about 50 feet remain low and are detrimental to fish. Since the fisheries for smelt and herring occur in shallow water, these fisheries could be reopened without risk to the resource. However, fisheries for bottomfish, squid and octopus remain closed as these species are still subject to stress by low levels of dissolved oxygen.

Other information: The department receives regular reports from the Department of Ecology on the level of dissolved oxygen in Hood Canal. We will continue to monitor these reports to determine when the fisheries for deepwater species can be safely reopened.

Information contact: Greg Bargmann (360) 902-2825

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.