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

November 29, 2012

Steelhead and whitefish angling closures for a section of the mainstem upper Columbia River and selected tributaries

ACTIONS: Close the mainstem Columbia River from Wells Dam to Hwy 173 Bridge in Brewster and the Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, and Methow Rivers one hour after sunset on Dec. 1, 2012 to fishing for steelhead until further notice. In addition, the Wenatchee, Methow below the Chewuch River, and Entiat Rivers will close for whitefish fishing one hour after sunset on Dec. 1, 2012, and will remain closed until further notice.

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 Dec. 1 until further notice include:

Mainstem Columbia River: From Wells Dam to Hwy 173 Bridge in Brewster

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 for whitefish fishing one hour after sunset on Dec. 1 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 confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop.

Reason for closure: The allowable mortality of natural origin steelhead due to angling effects is approaching the maximum limits in the closed areas. 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 2012-2013 steelhead run is less than recent years and has a relatively high proportion of natural origin steelhead.

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

Mainstem Columbia River: From Rock Island Dam to the boundary markers below Wells Dam and from Highway 173 Bridge in Brewster to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam

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, except bait allowed on mainstem Columbia River.

OTHER ANGLER INFORMATION:

Anglers are required to possess a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement as part of their valid fishing license.

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

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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