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

March 23, 2012

Upper Columbia tributaries to close for steelhead and whitefish angling

ACTIONS: Close the Methow, Wenatchee, and Icicle Rivers on March 25, 2012 to fishing for steelhead and whitefish.

SPECIES AFFECTED: steelhead and whitefish.

FISHING AREA LOCATIONS AND EFFECTIVE CLOSURE DATES:

Areas that will close to fishing for steelhead one hour after sunset on March 25, 2012

Wenatchee River: From the mouth to the Icicle Road Bridge, including the Icicle River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.

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

Areas that will close to fishing for whitefish one hour after sunset on March 25, 2012

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

Methow River: From Gold Creek to Foghorn Dam (1 mile upstream of Winthrop)

Reason for closure: The maximum allowable mortality of natural origin steelhead due to angling in the affected fisheries will be 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 from 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 subsequent catch & release mortality.

FISHING AREA LOCATIONS REMAINING OPEN TO STEELHEAD FISHING UNTIL one hour after sunset on March 31, 2012

Okanogan River: From the mouth upstream to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville, Except CLOSED WATERS from the first powerline crossing downstream of the Hwy 155 Bridge in Omak (Coulee Dam Credit Union) upstream to the mouth of Omak Creek and from the Tonasket Lagoons boat launch upstream to the Tonasket Bridge (4th street)

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.

Areas that will continue to be closed for steelhead and/or whitefish fishing;

Mainstem Columbia River: From Rock Island Dam to Chief Joseph Dam

Entiat River (steelhead); Upstream from the Alternate Highway 97 Bridge near the mouth of the Entiat River to 800 feet downstream of the Entiat national Fish Hatchery

Entiat River; From mouth (Alternate Hwy 97 Bridge) to Entiat falls.

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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