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

October 3, 2008

Steelhead fishing to open on the Methow, Similkameen, Okanogan, and upper Columbia Rivers and concurrent chinook gear rule change on upper Columbia River.

Actions:

(1) The Methow, Okanogan, and Upper Columbia Rivers will open to fishing for adipose fin-clipped hatchery-origin steelhead on October 4, 2008 and continue until further notice (2) The Similkameen River will open to fishing for adipose fin-clipped hatchery-origin steelhead on November 15, 2008 and continue until further notice (3) Release any steelhead with anchor (floy) tag attached.

Locations:

(1) The Columbia River from Wells Dam upstream to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam. Two (2) fish daily limit, adipose-fin clipped hatchery-origin steelhead only, 20-inch minimum size. Selective gear rules and night closure apply. Bait and motorized vessels are allowed. Current salmon and all other gamefish gear rules do not apply during steelhead season.

(2) Methow River from the Hwy. 97 Bridge in Pateros upstream to the second powerline crossing, and from the first Hwy. 153 Bridge north of Pateros to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop, WA. The second powerline crossing upstream to the first Highway 153 Bridge is closed to fishing. Two (2) fish daily limit, adipose-fin clipped hatchery-origin steelhead only, 20-inch minimum size. Selective gear rules and night closure apply. Motorized vessels are allowed. Whitefish gear rules do not apply during steelhead season.

(3) Okanogan River from mouth upstream, EXCEPT a section of the river from the Lake Osoyoos Control Dam (Zosel Dam) downstream to first Highway 97 Bridge will remain closed. Two (2) fish daily limit, adipose-fin clipped hatchery-origin steelhead only, 20-inch minimum size. Selective gear rules and night closure apply. Motorized vessels are allowed.

(4) Similkameen River from its mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam. Two (2) fish daily limit, adipose-fin clipped hatchery-origin steelhead only, 20-inch minimum size. Selective gear rules and night closure apply. Whitefish gear rules do not apply during steelhead season.

Important Angler Notes:

Anglers are strongly encouraged to retain the first two adipose fin-clipped hatchery-origin steelhead caught. It is unlawful for anglers to continue to fish once the daily limit of steelhead has been retained.

For all waters, any steelhead caught with an intact adipose fin must be released immediately and may not be totally removed from the water before release.

Reason for action: The fishery will reduce the number of excess hatchery-origin steelhead and increase the proportion of natural-origin steelhead on the spawning grounds and is expected to improve genetic integrity and stock recruitment of upper Columbia River steelhead through perpetuation of steelhead stocks with the greatest natural-origin lineage.

Information contacts: Jeff Korth, Region 2 Fish Program Manager, (509) 754-4624, Bob Jateff, District 6 Fish Biologist, (509) 997-0316, 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)79