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

January 12, 2005

Upper Columbia mainstem between Rocky Reach and Wells Dam closes to steelhead fishing Jan 15.

Action: Close the mainstem Columbia River from Rocky Reach Dam to Wells Dam to the fishing for steelhead.

Effective dates: Closes one (1) hour after sunset January 15, 2005

Species affected: Trout (steelhead)

Location: Columbia River from Rocky Reach Dam upstream to Wells Dam.

Reason for action: The recreational fishery upstream of Rocky Reach Dam to Wells Dam is fishing on 95 percent unmarked steelhead. The majority of adipose clipped hatchery-origin steelhead have moved above Wells Dam. The closure will concentrate the recreational fishery in waters where the majority of the steelhead are adipose fin-clipped and legal for harvest. By closing the Rocky Reach Dam to Wells Dam reach, WDFW can slow the rate that wild steelhead impacts (hooking and release mortalities) accumulate and delay the date that the maximum ?allowable impact? threshold approved by NOAA-Fisheries in the ESA Section 10 permit authorizing the fishery is reached. This will allow WDFW to extend the steelhead fishery as long as possible in the areas upstream of Wells Dam.

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 a two (2) fish daily limit, 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. Selective gear rules, except motorized vessels allowed and night closure, 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.

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.

Anglers fishing for other game fish species (including whitefish) in the Okanogan, Similkameen and Methow 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 21 and 22 of the 2004/05 Fishing Rules pamphlet.

The Methow River (above the confluence of the Chewuch River) and Similkameen River (above Enloe Dam) are open only to fishing for whitefish and anglers must follow whitefish gear rules (one (1) single barbless hook 3/16" or smaller measured point to shank (size 14), bait allowed).

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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