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

December 4, 2003

Anglers may retain hatchery steelhead including those bearing disk tags in certain eastside rivers

Action: Anglers may retain adipose fin-clipped steelhead including those bearing disk tags in areas of the Columbia, Okanogan, Similkameen and Methow rivers currently open to steelhead fishing.

Effective dates: November 20, 2003, until further notice, except the section of the Okanogan River from the Highway 97 Bridge at Omak to a line across the river 500 feet above the mouth of Omak Creek, which will close February 16, 2004.

Species affected: Adipose fin-clipped hatchery origin steelhead including those bearing disk tags

Location & Regulations

* Columbia River from Rocky Reach Dam upstream to Chief Joseph Dam. Statewide gear rules and night closure.

* Okanogan River from mouth upstream. Selective gear rules, except motorized vessels allowed and night closure.

* Similkameen River from the mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam. Selective gear rules and night closure; whitefish gear rules do not apply.

* Methow River from the mouth (Highway 97 bridge) upstream to the confluence with the Chewuch (Chewack) River in Winthrop. Selective gear rules, except motorized vessels allowed and night closure; whitefish gear rules do not apply.

Reason for action: Disk tags were applied to steelhead during run-size determination and fish sampling operations at Priest Rapids Dam. The disk tagged adipose fin-clipped hatchery-origin fish are no longer needed for monitoring purposes. Large numbers of surplus adipose fin-clipped steelhead returned to the Upper Columbia River and its tributaries and harvesting these fish will not impact upper Columbia River wild steelhead recovery.

Other information: Anglers are permitted to harvest hatchery origin steelhead with an adipose fin-clipped and a healed scar in the location of the missing fin. Adipose fin-clipped steelhead containing a disk tag may also be harvested. Two (2) fish daily limit, 20-inch minimum size. Anglers fishing for other game fish species (including whitefish) are required to follow the same gear restrictions and night closures as steelhead anglers. Night Closure and Selective Gear Rules are defined on pages 15 and 16 of the 2003/04 Fishing Rules pamphlet.

Information contacts: Kirk Truscott, District 6 Fish Biologist (509) 664-1227, Joe Foster, Regional Fish Program Manager (509) 754-4624, 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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