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

March 11, 2005

Fishing closures on Upper Columbia, Methow rivers


1. Close the Columbia River from Wells Dam to Chief Joseph Dam to fishing for trout, including steelhead

2. Close the Methow River downstream of the Chewuch River to all fishing

Effective dates: Closes one hour after sunset on Sunday, March 13, 2005

Species affected: Trout including steelhead and whitefish

Location: Columbia River from Wells Dam upstream to Chief Joseph Dam Methow River from the Highway 97 bridge upstream to the confluence with the Chewuch River.

Reason for action: The cumulative wild steelhead impacts (incidental hooking mortality) allowed under the WDFWs NOAA ESA permit, which allowed these fisheries, are anticipated to be reached by this date.

Other information: The following rivers remain open to fishing for hatchery-origin steelhead with an adipose fin-clip and a healed scar in the location of the missing fin. Anglers are permitted 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 the mouth upstream, except closed waters from Lake Osoyoos Control Dam (Zosel Dam) downstream to mile below the railroad trestle. Night closure and selective gear rules in effect, except motorized vessels allowed. The Okanogan River from the Highway 97 Bridge at Omak to a line across the river 500 feet above the mouth of Omak Creek remains closed to fishing for all species.

Similkameen River from the mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam. Selective gear rules and night closure; whitefish gear rules do not apply.

Anglers fishing for other game fish species (including whitefish) in the Okanogan River and Similkameen River 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 the Similkameen River above Enloe Dam remain open only to fishing for whitefish through March 31, 2005. Anglers must follow winter whitefish gear rules (one, single hook 3/16 or smaller measured point to shank (size 14), bait allowed).

The mainstem Columbia River, from Rocky Reach Dam to Wells Dam closed to trout including steelhead fishing January 15, 2005.

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

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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