(1) Contest defined: By definition, a fishing contest exists when 6 or more licensed persons fish competitively and determine winners, regardless of prize value.
(a) Fishing contest permit applications should be submitted to the department by July 1 of each year for contests that are to take place the following calendar year. After July 1, applications must be submitted not less than 30 days prior to the date for which the contest is proposed.
(b) Applications must include the permit fee required by RCW 77.65.480
. The fee will be returned if the permit is denied. No more than seven permits will be issued to any one permittee during a calendar year.
(c) For purposes of application for a fishing contest permit, "permittee" means a "person" as defined in RCW 77.08.010
. All applications from a permittee must be in a single name.
(a) Fishing contests which adversely affect fish or wildlife resources or other recreational opportunity may be denied.
(b) Contests will not be allowed on sea-run cutthroat trout, wild steelhead, Dolly Varden or bull trout.
(c) During fishing contests, where anglers target tiger muskies, no retention of caught fish is allowed. Tiger muskies may be caught, measured for length, photographed and all fish must be immediately released alive.
(4) Prize value: Total prize value per contest will not exceed $5,000 when trout, steelhead, char, whitefish, grayling, tiger muskie, or kokanee are included as target species; provided that contests wherein other species not listed above are targeted, or where bass or walleye are the targeted species and at least 90 percent of bass or walleye are released alive and in good condition after the contest, may qualify for no limitation on amount of prize.
(5) Legal requirements, all contests:
(a) Fishing contest permits must be in the possession of the contest sponsor or official at the contest site.
(b) Contests are restricted to the species and waters approved on the permit. Only those species listed as a target of the contest may be retained by contest participants during bass or walleye contests where all contestants fish at the same time and place.
(c) Sponsors must report contest information requested by the department within 30 days after the contest has ended. Subsequent contest permits will not be issued for one year after the date of the contest for which the report was not returned if this requirement is not fulfilled.
(d) Contest participants may not restrict public access at boat launches.
(e) Contests for bass and walleye where participants expect to fish at the same time from boats on lakes or reservoirs will not last longer than four consecutive days and have the following limits per water:
Less than 300
301 - 3,000
3,001 - 6,000
6,001 - 10,000
More than 10,000
No more than four weekend days per month nor more than two weekends per month may be scheduled on any water when contestants fish at the same time, and are allowed to fish from boats.
(f) It is unlawful for the fishing contest permittee or any of the contest participants to fail to comply with the conditions of the fishing contest permit, or of general fishing rules not specifically exempted by this permit. Failure of the permittee or any of the contestants to comply with all provisions of the contest permit or of other fishing regulations during a contest may lead to revocation of the permit and result in denial of fishing contest permits to the permittee and related organizations or individuals sponsoring contests for two years.
(6) Special regulations, bass and walleye contests:
(a) In any contest targeting either bass or walleye, all live bass or walleye must be released alive into the water from which they were caught after being weighed and/or measured. At the end of each day's competition, if the mortality of target fish caught that day exceeds 10%, the contest will be suspended. Suspended contests may be continued (within assigned permit dates) only if the cause of the high mortality can be positively identified, and the cause of the mortality (high waves, equipment deficiency, etc.) ceases or is corrected by contest officials.
(b) During bass and walleye contests only, participants may continue to fish while holding up to five fish in possession, as long as one fish is released immediately upon catching a fish which would make the angler in excess of five fish if kept. The fish released may come either from the one just caught, or from the livewell, but at no time may the angler have more than five fish in the livewell.
(c) During bass contests, contestants may not use live bait.
(d) During bass and walleye contests participants may retain up to five bass and walleye of any size to be weighed in. A tournament angler may not be in possession of more than five bass or walleye from the water being fished, except as authorized under (6)(e) below.
(e) The contest director or director designee may exceed possession limits for bass or walleye for the purpose of transporting fish from a weigh-in site to an open-water area. During transportation, the transport boat must not leave the water the fish were caught from and a copy of the contest permit must be on board during actual fish transport.
(f) Boat identification: All boats used for fishing in bass and walleye contests must be clearly identified according to criteria established by the department.
(7) Aquatic invasive species decontamination. Prior to launching into any Washington state body of water:
(a) All contest participants are required to sign an aquatic invasive species decontamination statement that their boats and/or boat trailers have or have not been in physical contact with any waters outside of Washington state for thirty days immediately preceding the contest and, if the boat and/or trailer has been in contact with such waters, the participant must complete an aquatic invasive species decontamination report indicating that the following actions have been taken:
(i) A physical inspection has been made of the hull, motor, trailer, livewell and bilge by the contest director or designee, according to criteria established by the department; and
(ii) Any aquatic invasive species, if found, have been disposed of in a garbage container; and
(iii) The hull, motor, trailer, livewell, and bilge have been decontaminated according to criteria established by the department.
(b) The aquatic invasive species decontamination statement and decontamination report shall be submitted to the department as part of the fishing contest report.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.08.045
, and 43.84.092
. WSR 11-22-002 (Order 11-282), § 232-12-168, filed 10/19/11, effective 11/19/11. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047
. WSR 09-06-042 (Order 09-27), § 232-12-168, filed 2/25/09, effective 5/1/09; WSR 08-07-003, § 232-12-168, filed 3/5/08, effective 4/5/08; WSR 06-05-085 (Order 06-23), § 232-12-168, filed 2/14/06, effective 5/1/06; WSR 04-07-009 (Order 04-39), § 232-12-168, filed 3/4/04, effective 5/1/04; WSR 02-08-048 (Order 02-53), § 232-12-168, filed 3/29/02, effective 5/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 75.08.080
. WSR 00-08-038 (Order 00-29), § 232-12-168, filed 3/29/00, effective 5/1/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.020
. WSR 96-15-096 (Order 96-80), § 232-12-168, filed 7/19/96, effective 8/19/96. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.040
. WSR 96-11-079, § 232-12-168, filed 5/13/96, effective 7/1/96; WSR 94-06-014 (Order 629), § 232-12-168, filed 2/18/94, effective 3/21/94; WSR 92-22-015 (Order 577), § 232-12-168, filed 10/21/92, effective 11/21/92. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.040
. WSR 90-22-057 (Order 464), § 232-12-168, filed 11/5/90, effective 12/6/90. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.040
. WSR 86-21-017 (Order 280), § 232-12-168, filed 10/6/86.]