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

September 29, 2004

Upper Columbia River and selected tributaries open for steelhead fishing, other fishing rule changes

Action: Areas of the Columbia, Okanogan, Similkameen and Methow rivers will open to recreational fishing targeting adipose fin-clipped hatchery-origin steelhead. The daily limit is two fish, 20-inch minimum size. Rules affecting other species in these areas are changed to be consistent with steelhead rule requirements.

Anglers Note: A new closure is in effect for a section of the Lower Methow River.

Effective dates: 1. Columbia River: October 1, 2004 until further notice, from Rocky Reach Dam upstream to Highway 17 Bridge at Bridgeport.

2. Okanogan River: October 1, 2004 until further notice. EXCEPT: a. a section of the river from the Lake Osoyoos Control Dam (Zosel Dam) downstream to mile below the railroad trestle will remain closed. b. a section from Highway 97 Bridge at Omak to a line across the river 500 feet above the mouth of Omak Creek will close February 16, 2005.

3. Similkameen River: November 15, 2004 until further notice.

4. Methow River: October 1, 2004 until further notice. EXCEPT: a. a section of the river between the second power line crossing upstream of Highway 97 Bridge and first Highway 153 Bridge north of Pateros will remain closed

Species affected: Steelhead and other game fish species.

Locations and Restrictions

1. Columbia River: From Rocky Reach Dam upstream to Highway 17 Bridge at Bridgeport: Statewide gear rules for all fish species, night closure, and all steelhead with an intact adipose fin and steelhead containing a disk tag must be immediately released unharmed.

2. Okanogan River: from mouth upstream except closed waters from Lake Osoyoos Control Dam (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, 2005. Selective gear rules for all fish species, except it is lawful to fish from a floating device equipped with a motor. Night closure in effect and all steelhead with an intact adipose fin and steelhead containing a disk tag must be immediately released unharmed. From the highway bridge at Malott upstream, closed to all species except adipose fin-clipped hatchery-origin steelhead.

3. Similkameen River: From mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam: Selective gear rules, night closure, and all steelhead with an intact adipose fin and steelhead containing a disk tag must be immediately released unharmed.

4. Methow River: From the mouth (Highway 97 bridge) upstream to the confluence with the Chewuch (Chewack) River in Winthrop: EXCEPT closed from the second powerline crossing upstream of the Highway 97 Bridge upstream to first Highway 153 Bridge north of Pateros: Selective gear rules, except it is lawful to fish from a floating device equipped with a motor, night closure, and all steelhead with an intact adipose fin and steelhead containing a disk tag must be immediately released unharmed.

Reason for action: Large numbers of surplus adipose fin-clipped hatchery origin steelhead are expected to return to the Upper Columbia River and its tributaries, harvest of these fish will not impact upper Columbia River wild steelhead recovery. NOAA Fisheries has approved the steelhead recreational fisheries.

Other information: Wild steelhead release rule is in effect. Anglers are permitted to harvest hatchery origin steelhead with an adipose fin-clip and a healed scar in the location of the missing fin. Two (2) fish daily limit, 20-inch minimum size. Anglers fishing for other fish species, where legal to do so are required to follow the same gear restrictions and night closures as steelhead anglers. Night Closure and Selective Gear Rules are defined on pages 21 and 22 of the 2004/05 Fishing Rules pamphlet. All steelhead with an intact adipose fin and steelhead containing a disk tag must be immediately released unharmed.

Information contacts: Bob Jateff (District 6 Fish Biologist Omak, (509) 826-7341, Art Viola, District 7 Fish Biologist Wenatchee (509) 665-3337, John Easterbrooks, Regional Fish Program Manager Yakima (509) 754-4624.

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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