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

December 19, 2003

Upper Columbia mainstem closes to steelhead fishing

Action: Close the mainstem Columbia River above Rocky Reach Dam for steelhead.

Effective dates: Closes one (1) hour after sunset on December 21, 2003

Species affected: Steelhead

Location Columbia River from Rocky Reach Dam upstream to Chief Joseph Dam.

Reason for action: The cumulative wild steelhead impacts allowed under the NOAA ESA Permit, which allowed these two fisheries, are anticipated to be reached by this date.

Other information: The following streams remain open to the fishing for hatchery-origin steelhead with an adipose fin-clipped and a healed scar in the location of the missing fin. Anglers are permitted to harvest two (2) fish daily, 20-inch minimum size. Adipose fin-clipped steelhead containing a disk tag may also be harvested. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

Okanogan River from mouth upstream except closed waters from Zosel Dam downstream to mile below the railroad trestle. The area from the Highway 97 Bridge at Omak to a line across the river 500 feet above the mouth of Omak Creek will close February 16, 2004. Selective gear rules for all species, except motorized vessels allowed and night closure. From the highway bridge at Malott upstream, closed to all species except adipose fin-clipped hatchery-origin steelhead.

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

Anglers fishing for other game fish species (including whitefish) in the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers 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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