Fish & Feathers: Outdoorsmen contribute $4.5 billion to Washington’s economy

This is Jacob Gisby's first Canada goose, which was taken this past season at the Riekkola Unit on south Willapa Bay. Jacob is 10 years old and lives on the Peninsula.

We are most familiar with the crowds of recreational people who frequent the Peninsula during clam digging season. Motels, trailer parks, restaurants, gas stations, grocery and sporting goods stores all benefit from this influx of money during the fall, winter and spring months.

A synopsis of a survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reveals that 40 percent of Washingtonians participate in the outdoor economy by fishing, hunting or observing wildlife. Commercial fishing contributes $1.4 billion to a $4.5 billion total relating to fish and wildlife.

Many residents do not realize that the men, women and children who partake in the many outdoor recreational activities contribute so heavily to our economy and job market.

Statewide, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s employees total 1,385, including biologists, enforcement officers, lab techs and customer service staff.

Other WDFW numbers:

• 13,000 people complete the WDFW hunter safety course each year.

• 60,000 pheasants released annually by WDFW managers.

• 686 land and access sites operated by WDFW for recreational activities.

• 63,235 razor clam licenses purchased during 2008 season.

• 1 million-plus people purchase Washington state hunting and fishing licenses and vehicle use permits.

• 175 million salmon, steelhead smolts, trout and warm water fish such as bass, perch and walleye reared at WDFW hatcheries to release in Washington waters each year.

Change in bottom fish rules, limits reduced

It is unlawful for any person to retain or possess more than 12 bottom fish species for personal use per day. The 12 fish in the aggregate limit of all species may include no more than two cabezon per person per day in addition to the current sub-limits for 10 rockfish or two lingcod. 

In other words, the limit has been reduced from 15 to 12 fish.  You may have 10 rockfish, two of which may be cabezon or two lingcod, for a total of 12 fish.

Sport lingcod season will open to recreational fishing on March 12, a week earlier than the date listed in the state’s 2010/11 sport fish rules pamphlet for Marine Areas 1-3, and will run through Oct. 15.

There is a 22-inch limit in Marine Areas 1-3 and a 24-inch limit in Marine Area 4.

Ron Malast may be contacted at 665-3573 or

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