New season means new rules for area anglers

It is official that we have now begun a new fishing season. April 1 marked the beginning of a new start for a favorite pass time enjoyed by Harborites and many others.

Obviously a new season means a new fishing license. The way it works is that you chose your interests and pay accordingly. There are options available so it may take some effort to figure it all out.

Once this matter is taken care of, anglers can legally fish in what is still the carry over from the 2016-17 season. This means there are some rivers currently open to fishing and will close either on the 15th or 30th of this month depending on the river. These rivers are primarily our northern Olympic rivers which host steelhead. The Bogacheil, Calawah, Dickey and Quillayute rivers all close on April 30. The Chehalis, Clearwater, Hoh and upper Quinault rivers close on April 15. Anglers fishing these waters should pay close attention to the special rules that apply to these select rivers. For instance, all across the board, internal combustion motors are prohibited. Furthermore, only one barbless hook may be used and bait is also prohibited.

It would be safe to say that more wild steelhead are prevalent in these streams than hatchery fish. So, without saying, anglers will need to be astute about releasing many of their catches.

When it comes to the Chehalis River, motorized boats are permitted, however the single-point barbless hook rule applies. The Chehalis is unique in that it also hosts sturgeon. Fishing for sturgeon is permitted 24 hours of the day. It is, however, a catch and release fishery so anglers can not benefit from the meat in any way unless they make the trip to allowable water like the Columbia River.

At this time in the year, it is generally understood that to fish open water will require some travel. The Columbia River is a big attraction as we move toward the spring Chinook salmon season. Of course, the Columbia River requires a special salmon and steelhead endorsement which needs to be considered when purchasing a new license for the season.

Anglers look to both the Cowlitz River and Columbia River when pursing springers. These rivers are year-round fisheries with defined species seasons. Consulting with the Washington State Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet will give the angler the details pertaining to these matters.

The next event, locally, is the opening of lakes. This occurs the last Saturday of the month. It is always an exciteable time because it includes so many kids. They add a dynamic to fishing that is beyond words.

Actually there are a number of kids only fishing derbies in the works. In addition, there have already been Spring Break Kids fishing opportunities at Duck Lake, Failor Lake, Aberdeen Lake, Lake Sylvia and Vance Creek Pond No., 1. The Derby dates are April 15, 22 and May 6 from 8 a.m. to noon. These fisheries help to get kids in the mood for a summer of fishing.