Adjust game fish regulations and remove catch and size limits on nonnative predatory fish including walleye, bass, and channel catfish, to protect salmon.
Evaluate predatory fish reduction options in McNary Dam reservoir to protect juvenile salmon.
- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife should remove catch and size limits on nonnative predatory fish including walleye, bass, and channel catfish, to protect salmon and other Endangered Species Act-listed species. The department also should adapt regulations to allow the disposal of these fish because it is illegal to “waste” sport fish. Any increase in fishing for these species should be managed to minimize additional deaths or accidental catching of salmon species.
- The Governor’s budget should include funding for the next 3 years to support a proposed study that looks at how changes in the height of the water in the McNary Dam reservoir affects predatory fish spawning.
- In 2021, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife received $200,000 to evaluate predation at the McNary Dam and another $200,000 to prevent northern pike in Lake Roosevelt from moving further downstream into the Columbia River.
- In the 2020 supplemental budget, the Legislature appropriated $357,000 for suppression, eradication, and monitoring of northern pike in the Columbia River.
- The Legislature appropriated $6 million statewide ($3.6 million to Puget Sound) to manage and prevent aquatic invasive species, with a focus on green crab and northern pike, both harmful to salmon recovery efforts.
- In 2019, the Legislature passed a law that directed the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to adopt rules to increase catch limits for bass, walleye, and channel catfish because they eat young salmon.
- In December 2019, the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission directed the Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop rules for management of nonnative game fish statewide and a draft version of the policy went into effect in summer 2020. The policy was adopted in December 2021.
More details may be found in the progress reports in the resources library.