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

January 12, 2005

Retention of hatchery steelhead with disk tags OK in parts of Columbia, Okanogan, Similkameen, Methow rivers

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

Effective dates: January 15, 2005, 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, 2005.

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

Location & Regulations Columbia River from Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco to the Old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers upstream of Ringold Hatchery

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 Mouth (Highway 97 Bridge) upstream to the second powerline crossing, and from the first Highway 153 Bridge north of Pateros to the confluence with the Chewuch River. Whitefish gear rules do not apply. Selective gear rules except lawful to fish from motorized vessels allowed and night closure.

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 21 and 22 of the 2004/05 Fishing Rules pamphlet. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

Information contacts: Bob Jateff, District 6 Fish Biologist (509) 826-7341, John Easterbrooks, Regional Fish Program Manager (509) 457-9330, 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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