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

February 4, 2011

Steelhead fishing rules changes in the upper Columbia

Actions: Allow the retention of hatchery-origin adipose fin-clipped steelhead with circular (hole) punches in the caudal (tail) fin.

Close sections of the Okanogan River around the mouths of Omak and Bonaparte creeks as of March 15, 2011.

Species affected: Hatchery origin adipose fin-clipped steelhead.

Hatchery-origin steelhead retention rule change: Anglers may retain hatchery-origin adipose fin-clipped steelhead with circular (hole) punches in the caudal (tail) fin as of Feb 5, 2011 only in areas of the Columbia River and tributaries that remain open to steelhead fishing.

Fishing area locations and effective closure dates:

The Okanogan River from the mouth upstream to Hwy 97 Bridge in Oroville. Open through March 31, 2011. Night closure and selective gear rules apply. EXCEPTION: CLOSED WATERS effective March 15, 2011 from the first powerline crossing downstream of the Hwy 155 Bridge in Omak (Coulee Dam Credit Union Building) to the mouth of Omak Creek and from the Tonasket Bridge (4th Street) downstream to the Tonasket Lagoons Park boat launch.

Location and regulations of areas previously opened to hatchery-origin steelhead harvest:

The mainstem Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam. Open through March 31, 2011. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, bait is allowed. Floy-tagged rainbow trout may be retained with no daily limit and no minimum size.

The Entiat River upstream from the Alternate Highway 97 Bridge near the mouth of the Entiat River, approximately 6 miles to 800 feet downstream of the Entiat National Fish Hatchery outfall. Open through March 31, 2011. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.

The Similkameen River, from its mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam. Open through March 31, 2011. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.

The Methow River from the Hwy. 97 Bridge in Pateros upstream to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop, WA. Open through March 31, 2011. Night closure and selective gear rules apply. Fishing from a floating device is prohibited from the second power line crossing (approximately 1 mile upstream from the mouth) to the first Highway 153 Bridge (approximately 4 miles upstream from the mouth).

Reason for action: Sections of the Okanogan River around the mouths of Omak and Tonasket creeks are closed to protect natural origin steelhead staging prior to spawning in those tributaries. Anglers may retain hatchery adipose fin-clipped steelhead with circular (hole) punches in the caudal (tail) fin in areas of the Columbia River that remain open to steelhead fishing. Circular (hole) punches were put in the caudal (tail) fin for sampling and monitoring purposes at Priest Rapids and Wells Dams, these fish are no longer needed for monitoring and can now be legally retained.

Other information: Anglers are required to harvest hatchery origin steelhead with an adipose fin-clip and a healed scar in the location of the missing fin. There is a four (4) fish mandatory daily retention limit on adipose fin-clipped steelhead, 20-inch minimum size. All steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water. All other fisheries must follow selective gear rules, except that bait is also allowed on the mainstem Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.

Anglers are reminded that a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement is required to participate in these fisheries. Funds from the Columbia River salmon and steelhead endorsement account support the creel staff that monitors these fisheries.

Certain fishery areas can close at any time before March 31, so anglers are advised to check for any emergency closures on the WDFW website at (https: //fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/)

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

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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