Outdoors blog

Steelheaders still required to keep all Tucannon hatchery fish

The forecast has been reduced for hatchery steelhead returning to the Snake River. (Associated Press)
The forecast has been reduced for hatchery steelhead returning to the Snake River. (Associated Press)

FISHING -- In a correction to the S-R's weekly Hunting-Fishing report, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department fisheries managers remind steelheaders that, according to a rule enacted Aug. 30, anglers MUST RETAIN all hatchery-marked steelhead they catch in the Tucannon River up to their daily limit of two.

Following are some specific emergency regulations that anglers need to be aware of when fishing the Tucannon for steelhead:

  1. All steelhead reduced to possession (landed) in the Tucannon River with a missing adipose fin (hatchery origin) MUST BE RETAINED. Catch and release of hatchery steelhead is not allowed
  2. The area from Marengo (at Turner Road) upstream is closed to steelhead fishing
  3. The daily limit is reduced to 2 hatchery steelhead per day.
  4. Barbless hooks required.
  5. Release all wild steelhead.

Reason for action: Steelhead returns to the Tucannon River are not meeting management goals for conservation or for maintaining fisheries and therefore, the fishery for hatchery steelhead must be constrained to provide more protection of naturally produced steelhead in the Tucannon River. The emergency regulations are intended to focus the fishery on removal of stray hatchery steelhead that primarily enter the Tucannon River in late summer and fall to prevent them from spawning naturally, as well as provide a refuge area above Marengo to protect early returning wild steelhead, and close the fishery before March when most of the wild steelhead return to the Tucannon River. 

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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