Volume 6, Number 50 - March 8, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Public comments now will shape new fishing regs
A light attendance at Monday’s Wyoming Game and Fish scoping meeting about proposed new fishing regulations could mean that local fishermen have no comments to make about them.
Hilda Sexauer, Game and Fish Pinedale Fisheries supervisor, said the meeting was attended by several “local interested fishermen” who came to hear how the proposed changes would affect their fishing in Fish Management Area 4 (Bear River, Green River and Little Snake drainages).
“There was really very little opposition to any of the area and regional proposals out there,” she said.
The amount of proposed changes – which include doubling possession in standing waters (lakes and reservoirs) and decreasing limits in running waters (rivers and streams) – should be of interest, Sexauer said.
Making comments now at the public meetings, before the formal comment period begins, will have more direct effect in shaping the new regulations, she added.
“They (fishermen) have an opportunity to mold these regulations,” Sexauer said. “Now’s the opportunity…. These comments are what I want to hear.”
The upcoming Big Piney meeting, set for March 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Sublette County Library, will offer a detailed overview of proposed fishing and baitfish regulations, to be followed by a question and answer session.
The proposed changes are meant to simplify current rules while fisheries “try to maintain the biological needs of fish communities,” according to Sexauer.
Separate creel limits
In Area 4, separate creel limits are being proposed for trout caught in standing water and those caught in running water, according to Green River Fisheries Supervisor Robert Keith.
“Anglers will have a daily creel limit of three trout when fishing rivers and streams,” he said in a Game and Fish press release. “The daily limit on lakes and reservoirs will remain at six trout.”
This proposal is based on rivers’ and streams’ lower ability to support trout populations than found in lakes and reservoirs, Keith said. The proposed changes also eliminate special regulations on individual rivers and streams, simplifying things for fishermen.
Many fish categories could see doubled daily creel limits if they fish more than one day on most Wyoming reservoirs, Keith said, adding that an exception is Flaming Gorge, which is jointly managed with Utah.
“Specific Pinedale-area lakes, such as Halfmoon, Green River and Soda lakes, will still have specific regulations and will not enjoy increased area-wide daily creel and possession limits,” Sexauer said.
Another proposal would remove many catch-and-release special regulations for cutthroat trout.
The simplified rule would allow for a limit of one cutthroat trout in the Green River Drainage above Fontenelle Reservoir, Sexauer said. Cutthroat trout streams will be closely monitored to document any impact this regulation would have on that fish population, she said. Most of those streams would still require use of artificial flies and lures.
The new regulation also would remove some of the restrictions attached to fishing the Green and New Fork rivers.
For the entire drainage above Fontenelle, a three-trout limit is proposed, with only one being a cutthroat and only one being more than 16 inches long, she said.
The proposed live bait fish regulations won’t affect the west side of the Continental Divide, because use of live bait fish is not allowed in Area 4, according to Keith, but it will have more impact for those fishing the east side of the divide.
Elimination of Cisco as bait is proposed throughout Wyoming, because it could carry fish diseases that might infect fish and spread to state fisheries.
Minnow collection could see broader gear types allowed for anglers with seining permits and fewer restrictions on number of traps set.
Game and Fish welcomes public comments on the proposed regulations before the formal comment period opens; this is the time when public input can be most effective, Sexauer said.
If fishermen with concerns are unable to attend the Big Piney meeting on Friday, they are invited to submit comments online at www.gf.state.wy.us and access “Fishing Regulation Changes” found in the “What’s New” sidebar. Written comments can be mailed to: Wyoming Game and Fish, Fish Division, Attn: Fishing Regulation Comments, 5400 Bishop Blvd., Cheyenne, WY 82006.
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