What do you think about the WDFW’s choice to adopt a barbless hook rule on the Columbia River? Don’t like it? Help us fight it! Please click the link for a copy of a petition that you can print out and send to WDFW, voicing your opinion! I also have an outline available of key points of why this rule is a bad idea. Help us fight this ridiculous rule! (copy and paste into your browser).
Numerous studies have been conducted on the effects of barbed vs. barbless hooks on fish, and the consensus is unanimous among researchers:
- The use of barbed or barbless hooks plays no role in subsequent mortality of trout caught by anglers.
- While quicker to remove, the difference was insufficient to reduce mortality.
- Hook placement is the main factor in mortality of fish, not hook type.
- A mouth-hooked fish, when handled properly, has a miniscule chance of dying whether the hook is barbed or barbless.
- The use of barbless hooks does not reduce mortality in salmonids.
- Restrictions regulating their use cannot be justified biologically.
- There is no biological basis for barbed hook restrictions, and managers should consider the social costs and economic impact of implementing barbed hook restrictions that produce no demonstrable biological gain.
- Barbless hooks will result in fewer catches and more disappointment among anglers, who will likely give up the sport altogether.
- Once a steelhead or salmon is hooked, it has a tendency to jump and twist, causing hook spit-out.
- License sales will decrease.
- Lost revenue for the state.
- Tackle & bait sales will decrease.
- Lost revenue for already struggling tackle shops.
- Tackle manufacturers will be forced to invest in new equipment to create barbless gear.
- Fishing equipment costs will increase.
- Tackle shops will have to find room on already crowded shelves.
- Anglers will be confused.
Targeting the sports fishermen by imposing such extreme rules will neither enhance nor improve the problems we are seeing in regards to declining fish populations.
- Fishery managers should focus on educating fishermen about catch-and-release techniques instead of forcing hook type rules.
- Easing gillnetting off the mainstem Columbia River is a good start.
- Enhancing hatchery production of salmon and steelhead should be prioritized.
- Run all hatcheries at full capacity to ensure viable fish returns.