WSR 97-24-065

EMERGENCY RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

FISH AND WILDLIFE

(Wildlife)

[Order 97-228--Filed December 2, 1997, 8:51 a.m., effective December 1, 1997, 12:01 a.m.]

Date of Adoption: November 24, 1997.

Purpose: Personal use rules.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 232-28-619.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 77.12.040.

Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.

Reasons for this Finding: These Columbia River tributaries are within the Upper Columbia River evolutionary significant unit (ESU) for steelhead. Steelhead within the ESU were recently listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife closed the rivers to all fishing as a conservation measure. However, an opportunity exists in the Wenatchee and Methow rivers for the seasonal continuation of a fishery directed solely at mountain whitefish. Steelhead encounters during the whitefish fishery are anticipated to be minimal due to the directed time and limited area of the openings. In addition, the gear has been specifically limited to the type used in whitefish fishing. Angler effort is anticipated to be low, but the fishery will be monitored to document fishery participation and harvest and estimate the number of steelhead encounters. Factors which will minimize incidental mortality on steelhead in these streams are: (1) Fishing for trout and steelhead is closed, thus limiting the whitefish fishery to a relatively small number of active anglers; (2) the majority of adult steelhead spend the winter in the Columbia River reservoirs coincident with low flows and low water temperatures in the Wenatchee and Methow rivers; (3) juvenile steelhead (and resident trout) are not liable to be taken since they spend winters concealed in the cobble substrate; (4) restricting the fishery to use of small hooks will minimize incidental mortality to any steelhead that might be hooked by whitefish anglers. There is insufficient time to promulgate permanent rules.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 1, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Effective Date of Rule: December 1, 1997, 12:01 a.m.

November 24, 1997

Bern Shanks

Director

NEW SECTION

WAC 232-28-61900Y 1997-1998 Washington game fish seasons and catch limits--Wenatchee River, Methow River. Notwithstanding the provisions of WAC 232-28-619, effective 12:01 a.m. December 1, 1997 until further notice.

wenatchee river - From mouth upstream to Highway 2 Bridge at Leavenworth. Open to fishing for whitefish only. Single hook, size #10 or smaller (under 1/4 inch maximum gap), bait allowed.

methow river - From mouth upstream to mouth of Chewuch (Chewack) River. Open to fishing for whitefish only. Single hook, size #10 or smaller (under 1/4 inch maximum gap), bait allowed.

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