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

February 11, 2014

Steelhead fishing to open on Wenatchee, Icicle, upper Columbia rivers; whitefish on Wenatchee

ACTIONS: Open the Columbia, Wenatchee, and Icicle Rivers on February 13, 2014 to fishing for steelhead. In addition, the Wenatchee River will open on February 13, 2014 to fishing for whitefish.

SPECIES AFFECTED: Steelhead and whitefish.


Areas that will open to fishing for steelhead one hour before sunrise on February 13, 2014 until further notice include:

Wenatchee River: From the mouth to 400 feet below Tumwater Dam, including the Icicle River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.

Columbia River: From Rock Island Dam upstream to 400 feet below Wells Dam.

Areas that will open to fishing for whitefish one hour before sunrise on February 13, 2014 until further notice include:

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

Reason for changes: Recent analyses of the ongoing steelhead fisheries in portions of the upper Columbia River has revealed sufficient natural origin steelhead impacts still remain under the NOAA issued ESA section 10 permit. Re-opening steelhead fisheries in the Columbia, Wenatchee and Icicle Rivers will help to reduce the proportion of hatchery fish on the spawning grounds and further reduce competition between natural origin and hatchery juvenile production. Opening these areas to steelhead angling also allows whitefish angling opportunity on the Wenatchee.

GENERAL RULES for all locations 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.

Selective gear rules and night closure are in effect for all steelhead fishery areas. Bait is allowed on mainstem Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.

Release all steelhead with a floy (anchor) tag attached and/or one or more round 1/4 inch in diameter holes punched in the caudal (tail) fin.

Motorized vessels are not allowed on the Wenatchee and Icicle Rivers (Chelan Co ordinance 7.20.190 Motorboat restrictions)

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

OTHER ANGLER INFORMATION: Steelhead fisheries currently open between Wells and Chief Joseph Dams, and in the Methow, Okanogan, and Similkameen Rivers will remain open until further notice.

Anglers are required to possess a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement as part of their valid fishing license. Revenue from the endorsement supports salmon or steelhead seasons in the Columbia River system, including fishery enforcement and monitoring. The endorsement has generated more than $1 million per year to maintain and increase fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River Basin. Information contacts: Jeff Korth, Region 2 Fish Program Manager (Ephrata), (509) 754-4624, Travis Maitland, District 7 Fish Biologist (Wenatchee), (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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