Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife FISHING RULE CHANGE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

February 9, 2011

Anglers must retain hatchery steelhead in upper Columbia and its tributaries

ACTIONS: Anglers fishing the upper Columbia River and its tributaries are required to retain any hatchery-origin adipose-fin-clipped steelhead they catch, up to the limit of four fish per day.

The Wenatchee and Icicle rivers will remain open to steelhead fishing until further notice. Anglers may retain hatchery steelhead with a clipped adipose fin and a circular (hole) punch in their caudal (tail) fin on the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers, along with other rivers previously identified in rule.

SPECIES AFFECTED: Hatchery adipose-fin-clipped steelhead.

EFFECTIVE DATES: Immediately until further notice.


Until further notice, the mandatory-retention requirement for adipose-fin clipped hatchery steelhead is in effect on the Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam to Chief Joseph Dam, and on areas of the Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, Methow, Okanogan and Similkameen rivers that are open to steelhead fishing. Anglers may now retain hatchery-origin adipose-fin-clipped steelhead with circular (hole) punches in the caudal (tail) fin in all of these same waters, as described below:

Columbia River: From Priest Rapids Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.

Wenatchee River: From the mouth to the Icicle River Road Bridge.

Icicle River: From the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.

Entiat River: Upstream from the Alternate Highway 97 Bridge near the mouth of the Entiat River to 800 feet downstream of the Entiat National Fish Hatchery outfall.

Methow River: From the mouth to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop. Fishing from a floating device is prohibited from the second powerline crossing to the first Hwy 153 bridge.

Okanogan River: From the mouth to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville. EXCEPTION: CLOSED WATERS effective March 15, 2010 from the first powerline crossing downstream of the Hwy 155 Bridge in Omak (Coulee Dam Credit Union Building) to the mouth of Omak Creek and from the Tonasket Bridge (4th Street) downstream to the Tonasket Lagoons Park boat launch.

Similkameen River: From its mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam.

OTHER INFORMATION: The daily limit in all waters is four (4) hatchery steelhead, 20 inch minimum size. Anglers are required to release all adipose present steelhead, which cannot be totally removed from the water prior to release. Selective gear rules are in effect for all steelhead fishery areas, except bait is allowed on mainstem Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam. Night closure is in effect for all steelhead fishery areas.

A Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement is required to participate in these fisheries. Funds from the Columbia River salmon and steelhead endorsement account support the creel staff that monitors these fisheries.

Anglers should be aware that fishing rules are subject to change and that rivers can close at any time due to impacts on natural origin steelhead. Updates are available on the fishing hotline at 360-902-2500 or the WDFW webpage (http: //wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/).

REASONS FOR ACTION: The retention requirement will reduce the number of excess hatchery-origin steelhead and consequently increase the proportion of natural-origin steelhead on the spawning grounds. Higher proportions of naturally produced spawners are expected to improve genetic integrity and stock recruitment of upper Columbia River steelhead through perpetuation of steelhead stocks with the greatest natural-origin lineage. Hatchery steelhead with caudal-fin punches are not longer needed for sampling and monitoring purposes at Priest Rapids and Wells Dams.

Information contacts: Jeff Korth, Region 2 Fish Program Manager, (509) 754-4624, Bob Jateff, District 6 Fish Biologist, (509) 997-0316, Art Viola, District 7 Fish Biologist, (509) 665-3337.

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.

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