Threatened, endangered fish penalties up for discussion
Outdoors briefs
June 5, 2002

Spokane, WA - Stiffer penalties for taking threatened or endangered fish will be considered by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission when it meets Friday and Saturday in Olympia.

Currently, killing a fish species listed as threatened or endangered is subject to the same penalties as other recreational fishing violations, with bail set at $100 per violation.

The proposed change would treat each protected fish illegally taken as a separate offense, and would pave the way for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to ask the courts to set higher bail forfeiture for taking endangered fish.

In other action the commission is scheduled to:

•Honor a handful of the state's most dedicated longtime volunteer hunter education instructors, including Sam Dietz of Pullman and Howard Gardner of Richland.

•Amend 2002-03 hunting rules to set a season for band-tailed pigeons.

•Increase fall turkey hunting permits in northeastern Washington.

•Establish an extended western Washington pheasant season in December.

•Hear briefings on wildlife management issues including 2001-02 public safety cougar removal season results, regional task groups' review of public safety cougar removal activity, the background and status of the hunter education program, resident Canada goose management and the status of ruffed and blue grouse.

No stopping shad anglers

Cascade Island, the shad fishing hot spot below Bonneville Dam, remains off-limits to anglers for security reasons.

Some of the areas closed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after the Sept. 11 attacks were reopened to anglers this year. Among them were The Wall area below Little Goose Dam on the Snake River and a few areas downstream from Bonneville.

But access to or across the dams and certain other areas remains closed, and the corps has given no indication that the policy might change.

But that hasn't stopped anglers from catching their share of the 1.5 to 3 million shad coming up the Columbia this month. Monday's check below Bonneville found shore anglers catching 6-10 shad per rod and about 50 shad per boat for the anglers afloat.

On the weekend, about 300 anglers were on Washington shoreline below Bonneville.

Last year's shad counts were near record levels, but overshadowed by the commotion over the big spring chinook returns. This year's run is stacking up to be another good one. Up to 90,000 a day are swimming over Bonneville dam. About a half a million fish have come upstream.


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