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

September 21, 2009

Hanford Reach steelhead fishery opens early; daily limit increased

Action: Open the Columbia River to retention of hatchery steelhead between the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco and Priest Rapids Dam.

Species affected: Hatchery steelhead

Effective Dates & Locations:

Area 1: Highway 395 upstream to old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers, Sept. 22 through Oct. 31, 2009.

Area 2: Hanford wooden powerline towers upstream to Priest Rapids Dam, Sept. 22 through Oct. 22, 2009

Reason for action: Returns of hatchery and natural-origin summer-run steelhead to the Upper Columbia River have far exceeded the run criteria of 9,300 counted over Priest Rapids Dam required to open a conservation-based fishery under the Endangered Species Act.

This action allows anglers to retain hatchery steelhead prior to the Oct.1 opening listed in the Fishing in Washington Sport Fishing Rules (Page 76) for the Hanford Reach from the Hwy. 395 bridge to the old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers (i.e. "Lower Hanford Reach"), and removes the requirement for both an adipose and right ventral fin clip for hatchery steelhead retained in October. The Lower Hanford Reach below the old Hanford townsite will remain open for hatchery steelhead fishing after Oct. 31 under the current permanent regulation listed in the pamphlet.

In addition, the Upper Hanford Reach, from the old Hanford townsite powerline towers upstream to Priest Rapids Dam, will open for retention of hatchery steelhead through Oct. 22. Steelhead retention in this area will close when the fall chinook salmon fishery closes. This marks the first time this area has opened for steelhead fishing since upper Columbia River steelhead were listed as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1997. Removal of excess hatchery steelhead through the use of a selective sport fishery is a wild stock conservation tool permitted under the ESA.

Other information:

Daily limit of three (3) hatchery steelhead. Minimum size - 20 inches. Hatchery steelhead are identified by a missing adipose fin, with a healed scar in its location. Wild steelhead (adipose fin intact) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

Information contact: Paul Hoffarth, District 4 Fish Biologist, (509) 545-2284 (Pasco), or John Easterbrooks, Regional Fish Program Manager, (509) 457-9330 (Yakima).

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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