Looks like we've finally reached the point where there are so few fish left in Region 5, WDFW knows you won't get bit, so they might as well let you fish barbs.
I always fish barbless. Makes everything easier and safer in my experience, and in an era where we never know when we might hook an endangered fish, it just seems like common sense. Sure, I lose a fish now and again, but not so many that I honestly believe barbs provide more advantages than they cause problems. I can't remember a time when I've thought, "If only I could use barbed hooks, I would have caught that one for sure..."
I really don't get it, but I have observed how allowing barbs improves attitudes on the river, and I think WDFW is starting to use barbed hooks as a means for improving lousy opportunity. For example, I spent a few brutally fruitless days on the Kalama this spring, trying to catch springers that frankly weren't there. Early in the season, barbless rules were in place, to protect (of all things) hatchery winter steelhead. As soon as the hatchery got its eggs (or just gave up; I'm honestly not sure which), the barbless restriction was lifted. The next time I was there, almost every angler had the same report; something like:
"Nope. Haven't caught anything, but hey, at least they're letting us fish with barbs."
Pretty sure allowing barbs did a lot more to improve angler attitudes than it did to improve catch rates, and I suspect that's usually the case.
Edited by FleaFlickr02 (06/30/19 07:46 AM)