Ticket for practice casting on closed waters? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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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.

Lori Preuss
WSBA #33045
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.



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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 10:23 PM
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The fly club I belong to has done 2 handed casting demonstrations and casting classes on closed waters. One thing they did before the demo and class was to contact the local WDFW office and inform them.

"The reason you have a good vision is you're standing on the shoulders of giants." ~ Andy Batcho
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 10:41 PM
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I had the same questions a few years ago, so I called the enforcement Dept in Olympia after having been told by the desk person at the Mill Creek office that it was illegal when the river was closed to fishing.

I spoke directly with a supervisor in the enforcement division after being told it was illegal, and he said of course it's not illegal to practice cast as long as one doesn't have a hook attached to the line. He then said he would call the desk person at Mill Creek office and explain the rules to her as well.

He also suggested to call the local State Patrol Office and give them my name and where I will be practicing in case someone thinks that I was fishing illegally. I would also give my vehicle license # as well. I have never had a problem by doing it this way, and have been checked a number of times. I always tell the officer doing the check how much I appreciate that they are out checking.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 12:17 AM
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From my duckhunting days, I know that not only is it unacceptable to have lead in the blind, but the truck, boat, or "field" as well.

With that, I take the responce to lead me to the same conclusion, it is ok if practicing, but no fly box in, on, or around you. I would not feel safe just leaving it in the truck. I have had my run in's with some real sticklers and rightly so. Right is right and wrong is wrong.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 12:19 PM
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What we do

We often practice on the Puyallup when it is closed.

Here is what we do.
Put a sign in our window of our car explaining that we are not fishing and just practicing our casting. (the average fisherman/citizen has no idea of why someone would do this).

We also call the WDFW ahead of time and let them know we are practicing.
Name of river and location and time.

Without the note on your car you will get nasty notes placed on your car and will have occasional people yelling at you. Never got into a confrontation.

We use yarn on the end of our line ... sometimes a hook with the curve cut off so it is strait with yarn lashed to it.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 12:28 PM
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Hey, Spey Spaz, thanks for these good words of counsel. They fit a need with me.

Thomas E. Stiver Please support this Web Site. History is His story.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 03:23 PM
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I would not even wear a vest, better yet dont even bring it. Leave all that at home. Then you could not possibly fish at all. Just take a rod or two. The C.O's tend to get a little crankie around here. Some of the best fishing can be had on closed streams, no what I mean.
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