Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife FISHING RULE CHANGE
WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

December 28, 2011

Upper Columbia River, selected tributaries to close for steelhead and whitefish angling

ACTIONS: Close the Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to Chief Joseph Dam, including the Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, and Methow Rivers, at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2012 to fishing for steelhead until further notice. In addition, the Wenatchee, Methow, and Entiat Rivers will close at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2012 to fishing for whitefish until further notice.

SPECIES AFFECTED: Steelhead and whitefish

FISHING AREA LOCATIONS AND EFFECTIVE CLOSURE DATES:

Areas that will close to fishing for steelhead at 12: 01 a.m. Jan. 2, 2012 until further notice include:

Mainstem Columbia River: from Rock Island Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.

Wenatchee River: From the mouth to the Wenatchee River at the Icicle Road Bridge, including the 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.

Methow River: From the mouth to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop.

Areas that will close to fishing for whitefish Jan. 2, 2012 until further notice include:

Wenatchee River: From the mouth to the Hwy 2 bridge at Leavenworth.

Entiat River: Upstream from the Alternate Highway 97 Bridge, near the mouth of the Entiat River to Entiat Falls.

Methow River: From Gold Creek to the falls above Brush Creek.

Reason for closure: The maximum allowable mortality of natural origin steelhead due to angling in the affected fisheries has nearly been reached. The ESA Section 10 permit sets the incidental take of listed species separately for each fishery to accommodate variation in the run strength and angling effort within the fisheries and year to year. The 2011-12 steelhead run is less than recent years and has a relatively high proportion of natural origin steelhead. In addition, steady angler effort has increased the number of steelhead encounters and catch & release mortality.

FISHING AREA LOCATIONS REMAINING OPEN TO STEELHEAD FISHING UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE:

Okanogan River: From the mouth upstream to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville.

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

GENERAL RULES for locations remaining open to steelhead fishing:

Mandatory retention of adipose fin clipped steelhead, daily limit two (2) hatchery steelhead, 20 inch minimum size. Hatchery steelhead are identified by a missing adipose fin with a healed scar in its location.

Adipose present steelhead must be released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

Night closure and selective gear rules remain in effect.

Whitefish anglers must follow selective gear rules in areas open to steelhead fishing, no bait is allowed

OTHER ANGLER INFORMATION:

Anglers are required to possess a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement as part of their valid fishing license. Check the fishing hotline at 360-902-2500 or the webpage at https: //fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/rules_all_freshwater.j

Information contacts: Jeff Korth, Region 2 Fish Program Manager (Ephrata), (509) 754-4624, Bob Jateff, District 6 Fish Biologist (Methow, Okanogan), (509) 997-0316, Travis Maitland, District 7 Fish Biologist (Wenatchee, Entiat), (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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