FISHING — Steelheading rules on a portion of the Columbia River are being liberated Thursday as enough fish move up the river to satisfy hatchery egg-taking needs.
Here's the announcement just posted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Action: Open a section of the Columbia River to retention of any hatchery steelhead
Species affected: Hatchery steelhead
Effective Date:Oct. 17, 2013
Location: Highway 395 Bridge in Pasco upstream to the old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers
• 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.
This action removes the requirement for both an adipose fin clip and ventral fin clip for hatchery steelhead retained prior to Nov. 1. The Lower Hanford Reach will remain open for hatchery steelhead fishing after Oct. 31 under the current permanent regulation listed in the 2013-14 fishing rules pamphlet (Page 73) and is scheduled to run through March 31, 2014.
Reason for action: Hatchery-origin steelhead in excess of desired escapement are forecast to return to the upper Columbia River. This fishery will reduce the number of excess hatchery-origin steelhead and consequently increase the proportion of natural-origin steelhead on the spawning grounds. Higher proportions of naturally produced spawners are expected to improve genetic integrity and recruitment of upper Columbia River steelhead through perpetuation of steelhead stocks with the greatest natural-origin lineage. Steelhead fisheries for hatchery steelhead (adipose clip only) have recently opened in the upper Columbia and tributaries allowing early retention of adipose clip only steelhead in the lower Hanford Reach.