Ticket for practice casting on closed waters?
In case you're curious...
I contacted WDFW Enforcement and asked about the legality of practice casting on closed waters. Here's the email exchange, starting with me:
"I have a regulation question.
Is it a violation to do Spey casting practice on closed waters? explanation follows.
As you may know, spey or double-hand flycasting is an exacting art and requires a lot of practice. This practice must be conducted on moving water because of the dynamics of the cast; water tension is what loads the rod and enables the cast to occur.
Practice speycasting is routinely conducted with either a tuft of yarn tied to the leader, or if not available, a "false" fly which is a normal fly with the point, barb and bend cut off, leaving only the shank and whatever materials are tied on the hook to provide water resistance to further enable the cast to "anchor".
Because of this modification to the hook, the casting outfit is incapable of hooking or landing a fish, which is the criteria specified in the regulation definition of "angling". According to the regulation pamphlet glossary of terms, a fly is a lure, and a lure has a hook. A hook, by definition, has a point and a bend. Without these, it is a piece of wire.
My contention is that practice casting with an outfit that is incapable of hooking and landing a fish does not constitute angling. Am I mistaken in this conclusion?
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. I wouldn't want a peaceful day of practice casting to end in an unnecessary ticket, or drive many miles to open waters for no reason just for practice casting."
and this is the response I got:
"Technically, "fishing," per RCW 77.08.010(9), means "an effort to kill, injure, harass, or catch a fish or shellfish." So, if a person is practicing casting and using a hookless lure, he/she better be able to prove that he/she has no lures with hooks or other equipment with hooks nearby and is not injuring or harassing fish while practicing. Additionally, a person practicing casting is likely to be scrutinized and contacted by a Fish and Wildlife Officer. To avoid a ticket for no license and for illegal fishing, if the person sees an officer approaching, the person would be wise to immediately put down his/her rod, without reeling in, until the officer makes contact. Then the person can reel in the lure and let the officer see for himself/herself that there is no fishing going on because there is no hook.
Ultimately, to be 100% safe from being ticketed, the person would be wise to either: (1) practice casting on land; or (2) get a fishing license and practice when the fishing season is open and on an open river or lake.
Criminal Justice Liaison and
Administrative Regulations Coordinator
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife"
...so I'm going to print a copy of this and carry it with me when practice casting, leave the fly box in the truck, and follow Ms Preuss' suggestions if approached by an agent. The WDFW response suggests that unless the agent can prove you're harassing fish, you should have no trouble getting a ticket dismissed in court even if you do get ticketed. That's my take on it anyway.
Captain of the Jameson Godawful casting team
Sportkilt Sponsored Middle Aged "athlete"