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Upper Columbia steelheading closes Sunday

STEELHEAD FISHING -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has issued an emergency closure of fishing for steelhead and whitefish in the Uppler columbia river tributaries effective a half hour after sunset Sunday.

Actions: Close the Methow, Wenatchee, and Icicle Rivers on March 25 to fishing for steelhead and whitefish.

Read on for the details of the emergency just posted.

Areas that will close to fishing for steelhead one hour after sunset on March 25, 2012:


  • Wenatchee River:From the mouth to the Icicle Road Bridge, including the IcicleRiver from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.
  • Methow River:From the mouth to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop.

Areas that will close to fishing for whitefish one hour after sunset on March 25, 2012:

  • Wenatchee River:From the mouth to the Highway 2 bridge at Leavenworth.
  • Methow River:From Gold Creek to Foghorn Dam (1 mile upstream of Winthrop).

Reason for closure:The maximum allowable mortality of natural origin steelhead due to angling in the affected fisheries has been reached. The ESA Section 10 Permit sets the incidental take of listed species separately for each fishery to accommodate variation in the run strength and angling effort within the fisheries from year to year. The 2011-12 steelhead run is less than recent years and has a relatively high proportion of natural origin steelhead. In addition, steady angler effort has increased the number of steelhead encounters and subsequent catch & release mortality.

Fishing area locations remaining open to steelhead fishing until one hour after sunset on March 31, 2012:

  • Okanogan River:From the mouth upstream to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville, except CLOSED WATERS from the first powerline crossing downstream of the Highway 155 Bridge in Omak (Coulee Dam Credit Union) upstream to the mouth of Omak Creek and from the Tonasket Lagoons boat launch upstream to the Tonasket Bridge (4thStreet).
  • Similkameen River: From the mouth upstream to 400 feet below Enloe Dam.

General rules for locations remaining open to steelhead fishing:

  • Mandatory retention of adipose fin clipped steelhead, daily limit two (2) hatchery steelhead, 20 inch minimum size. Hatchery steelhead are identified by a missing adipose fin with a healed scar in its location.
  • Adipose present steelhead must be released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.
  • Night closure and selective gear rules remain in effect.

Areas that will continue to be closed for steelhead and/or whitefish fishing;

  • Mainstem Columbia River: From Rock Island Dam to Chief Joseph Dam.
  • Entiat River (steelhead): Upstream from the Alternate Highway 97 Bridge near the mouth of the Entiat River to 800 feet downstream of the Entiat National Fish Hatchery.
  • Entiat River: From the mouth (Alternate Highway 97 Bridge) to Entiat falls.

Other information: Anglers are required to possess a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement as part of their valid fishing license.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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