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In The Outdoors

State seeks input on fishing rule proposals

Four public meetings have been scheduled to discuss rule proposals for Washington's 2009-10 sportfishing seasons.

Those 25 proposed rules, which would affect various freshwater and saltwater fisheries around the state, are available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) Web site at wdfw.wa.gov

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Printed copies of the proposals are available by contacting WDFW's Fish Program at (360) 902-2700.

The public meeting nearest to Bingen/White Salmon will be held in Longview at the Cowlitz County PUD building, 961 12th Ave., starting at 6 p.m.

During these meetings, the public can discuss the proposals with WDFW staff or submit written comments. Comments also can be submitted by e-mail to WDFW Rules Coordinator Lori Preuss at preuslmp@dfw.wa.gov or by mail at 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, Wash., 98501. Comments mailed to WDFW must be received by Nov. 6.

The public also will have an opportunity to provide testimony, as well as written comments, on the proposed rule changes during the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission's Nov. 7-8 meeting in Olympia. Check the commission's Web site (wdfw.wa.gov/com) for the specific day and time.

The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to vote on the final sportfishing rules package during a meeting in February 2009.

Sportfishing rules currently under consideration include:

**Replacing the non-buoyant lure restriction with a new anti-snagging rule (only one single hook, fish must be hooked in the mouth; applies to all species except it only applies to salmon and steelhead in a portion of the mainstem Columbia River);

**Changing the daily limit of salmon and steelhead in the mainstem Columbia River to two salmon or two steelhead or one of each;

**Prohibiting the use or possession of live aquatic animals for bait in freshwater;

**Changing the opening day of fishing on some streams;

**Creating a new Marine Protected Area near a reef at Saltwater State Park.

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