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

September 3, 2010

Hanford Reach steelhead fishery opens early

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. 4 - Oct, 31, 2010.

Area 2: Hanford wooden powerline towers upstream to Priest Rapids Dam; Sept. 4 - Oct. 22, 2010.

Other information:

Mandatory retention of hatchery steelhead. All hatchery steelhead caught must be harvested and count towards the daily bag limit. Anglers may not continue to fish for steelhead after the daily limit is retained. Mandatory harvest of hatchery steelhead to remove excess hatchery fish on the upper Columbia tributary spawning grounds is a condition of the ESA "incidental take" permit that allows the fishery to be opened and be used as a population management tool.

Daily limit of two (2) hatchery steelhead. Hatchery steelhead are identified by a missing adipose fin with a healed scar in its location. Minimum size is 20 inches.

Wild steelhead (adipose fin intact) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

Area 1: This action allows anglers to retain hatchery steelhead prior to the October 1 opening listed in the Fishing in Washington Sport Fishing Rules (Page 77) for the Hanford Reach from the Hwy. 395 bridge to the old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers (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 powerline towers will remain open for hatchery steelhead fishing after Oct. 31 under the current permanent regulation listed in the Sport Fishing Rules.

Area 2: The Columbia River from the old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers upstream to Priest Rapids Dam will open for retention of hatchery steelhead from September 4 to Oct. 22. Hatchery steelhead retention in this area will close when the Hanford Reach salmon fishery closes on Oct. 22.

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

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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