If no salmon make it out to the ocean this year, in three to five years we won't be doing any salmon fishing on the Columbia River.

Researchers are finding empty nets as they track this year's salmon population.

This news should be a wake up call for guides and businesses based on the salmon industry.

One need look no further than the loss of our local business, Hammer's Precision Outdoors.

Guides may need to do some driving to attend some upcoming public meetings as well, not that salmon season is winding down. The state is talking changes, and if you don't speak up before the changes are in place you might be disappointed with the outcome.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has scheduled public meetings on management of the state's salmon and steelhead fishing guide industry.

All meetings are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. and include the following dates and far away locations:

Forks: Oct. 25, Rainforest Arts Center, 35 N. Forks Ave., Forks.
Lyle: Nov. 8, Lyle Activities Center, Highway 14 and Third Street, Lyle.
Ridgefield: Nov. 9, WDFW Region 5 office, 5525 S. 11th St., Ridgefield.
Mill Creek: Nov. 13, WDFW Region 4 office,16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.
East Wenatchee: Nov. 20, Douglas County PUD Offices, Main Auditorium, 1151 Valley Mall Pkwy, East Wenatchee.
Clarkston: Nov. 21, Walla Walla Community College in the multi-purpose room, 1470 Bridge St., Clarkston.

During the 2017 legislative session, the Legislature directed WDFW to hold meetings to explore alternative structures for guide licensing, with the objectives of:

  • Improving the fishing experience and ensuring equitable opportunity for both guided and non-guided river anglers,
  • Managing fishing pressure to protect wild steelhead and other species; and
  • Ensuring that recreational fish guiding remains a sustainable economic contributor to rural economies.

At the scheduled meetings, WDFW will discuss current management and take suggestions for potential regulatory changes for the fishing guide industry.

WDFW also is working with a contractor to develop and conduct a survey to capture feedback from those who cannot attend a meeting in person.

The department will provide a summary of its findings to the Legislature by the end of the year.

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