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

January 28, 2003

Anglers may retain hatchery steelhead with disk tags in certain eastside rivers

Actions: Anglers may retain marked hatchery-origin steelhead bearing disk tags in areas of the Columbia, Okanogan, Similkameen and Methow rivers currently open to steelhead fishing.

Effective dates: January 29, 2003 through March 31, 2003, except the section of the Okanogan River from Highway 97 Bridge at Omak to a line across the river 500 feet above the mouth of Omak Creek, which will close February 16, 2003.

Species affected: Marked hatchery-origin steelhead bearing disk tags

Location and Regulations

Columbia River from Rocky Reach Dam upstream to Chief Joseph Dam. Statewide gear rules and night closure. Okanogan River from the 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 from the mouth (Highway 97 bridge) upstream to the confluence with the Chewuch (Chewack) River in Winthrop. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, except that motorized vessels are allowed. Whitefish gear rules do not apply.

Reason for action: Disk tags were applied to hatchery steelhead during run-size determination and fish sampling operations at Priest Rapids Dam. The disk tagged hatchery-origin fish are no longer needed for monitoring purposes. Large numbers of surplus hatchery 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 have been permitted to harvest hatchery-origin steelhead - marked with a clipped adipose or ventral fin (and a healed scar in the location of the missing fin) - but have been required to release any fish with a disk tag. As of January 29, hatchery steelhead bearing a disk tag can also be harvested. The daily limit remains two fish, with a minimum size of 20 inches. Anglers fishing for other game fish species (including whitefish) are required to follow the same gear restrictions and night closures as steelhead anglers. Selective Gear Rules are defined on page 15 of the WDFW 2002/03 Fishing Rules pamphlet.

Information contacts: Heather Bartlett, District 6 Fish Biologist (509) 826-7341, Joe Foster, Regional Fish Program Manager (509) 754-4624, 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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