Latest from The Spokesman-Review
FISHING — Starting Wednesday (Oct. 16), fishing will open for hatchery steelhead on the mainstem upper Columbia, Wenatchee, Icicle, Methow and Okanogan rivers until further notice.
In addition, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that the Similkameen River will open to hatchery steelhead retention beginning Nov. 1.
Jeff Korth, regional fish manager for WDFW, said approximately 14,000 adult steelhead are expected to return to the upper Columbia River this year - enough to allow the department to open area steelhead fisheries.
Korth noted, however, that fishing will be more tightly regulated than last year because fewer hatchery steelhead are projected to return this year and wild steelhead are expected to make up a higher proportion of the run.
“Careful management is required to protect naturally spawning steelhead listed under the federal Endangered Species Act,” Korth said. “While these fisheries traditionally remain open through the winter, we may have to close fishing early due to the higher number of encounters with wild steelhead expected this year.”
Korth said anglers should check WDFW's website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/ ) throughout the season for possible changes in the fishing regulations.
On all rivers, anglers will have a daily limit of two hatchery steelhead, marked with clipped adipose fins and measuring at least 20 inches in length. Anglers are required to immediately release any steelhead with an intact adipose fin without removing the fish from the water. All steelhead fitted with a floy (anchor) tag and those with one or more round quarter-inch holes punched in their caudal (tail) fin must also be released.
Anglers fishing tributaries to the upper Columbia River are also required to retain any legal-size hatchery steelhead they catch until the daily limit of two fish is reached. Once they have retained two fish, anglers must stop fishing for steelhead.
Selective gear rules apply to all areas where steelhead seasons are open, although bait may be used on the mainstem Columbia River. All anglers are required to follow selective gear rules and restrictions described in WDFW's Sport Fishing Rules, available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .
Anglers should also be aware that motorized vessels are not allowed on the Wenatchee or Icicle rivers under Chelan County ordinances.
Areas that will open to fishing for hatchery steelhead Oct. 16 until further notice include:
- Mainstem Columbia River: Open from Rock Island Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, except bait is allowed.
- Wenatchee River: Open from the mouth to the Icicle River Road Bridge, including the Icicle River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam. Night closure and selective gear rules apply. Motorized vessels are not allowed.
- Methow River: Open from the mouth to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop. Fishing from a floating device is prohibited from the second powerline crossing to the first Highway 153 Bridge. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.
- Okanogan River: Open from the mouth upstream to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.
Areas that will open to fishing for hatchery steelhead Nov. 1 include:
- Similkameen River: Open from the mouth to 400 below Enloe Dam. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.
Three areas of the Columbia River - Vernita, Priest Rapids and Wanapum - will not open for steelhead fishing this fall to preserve fishing opportunities on upper-river tributaries, Korth said.
All anglers must possess a valid fishing license and a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement to participate in these fisheries. Revenue from the endorsement supports salmon or steelhead seasons on many rivers in the Columbia River system, including enforcing fishery regulations and monitoring the upper Columbia River steelhead fisheries.
The endorsement has generated more than $1 million annually for WDFW to maintain and increase fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River Basin.
FISHING — Dang, the catching was so good, the limit of disturbance to wild fish stocks has been reached, forcing the state to announce this afternoon that fishing for steelhead and whitefish in the Methow and Chewuch rivers will close on Sunday evening.
Steelheading will continue in portions of the upper Columbia, Okanogan, Wenatchee and Similkameen rivers.
Read on for all the details just released from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
FISHING – Starting Tuesday (Oct. 16), hatchery steelhead fisheries will open on the mainstem upper Columbia, Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, Methow and Okanogan rivers, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.
In addition, the Similkameen River will open to hatchery steelhead retention beginning Nov. 1.
All of these fisheries will remain open until further notice.
Jeff Korth, regional fish manager for WDFW, said approximately 18,000 adult steelhead are expected to return to the upper Columbia River this year – enough to allow the department to open area steelhead fisheries.
However, wild steelhead are expected to return in lower numbers than last year, requiring additional constraints on those fisheries.
“We carefully manage these fisheries to protect naturally spawning steelhead listed under the federal Endangered Species Act,” Korth said. “These fisheries traditionally remain open through the winter, but with lower numbers of wild steelhead and tighter allowable impacts on those fish we may have to close early.”
Korth said anglers should check WDFW’s website throughout the season for any regulation changes.
Read on for details about the fish you can and cannot keep, and specifically where fishing is allowed.
FISHING — Jeff Holmes of the Tri-Cities photographed this nice catch — a couple of nice catches, actually — while moonlight fishing for steelhead Saturday on a Snake River middle impoundment with his wife, Erika.
One of many fish the Holmes's caught and released this weekend, this bright B-run hen wen 29.5 inches — and into the cooler.
SALMON FISHING — A selective chinook fishery opens Saturday on the lower Wenatchee River.
Read on for the details from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
FISHING – Starting Friday (March 16), selective fisheries for hatchery-reared steelhead on the Wenatchee, Icicle, and Methow rivers will temporarily reopen, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department announced this afternoon.
Anglers will be allowed to catch whitefish in the Wenatchee and Methow rivers so long as those rivers are open to steelhead fishing.
Steelhead fisheries in all three rivers are tentatively scheduled to run through March 31, but could end sooner if fishing impacts on wild steelhead reach annual federal limits, said Jeff Korth, regional WDFW fish manager.
“These limited openings are designed to support wild-steelhead recovery by reducing the number of hatchery fish on the spawning grounds,” Korth said. “Anglers can play an important role in that effort by removing hatchery fish not needed to meet spawning goals.”
Because the fisheries could close on short notice, Korth recommends that anglers check the department’s Fishing Hotline at (360-902-2500) or Fishing Rule website for updates.
The Similkameen and Okanogan rivers will remain open for steelhead fishing, although sections of the Okanogan River around the mouth of Omak and Tonasket creeks will close to all fishing Friday to protect wild steelhead staging for spawning.
Read on for more details.
SALMON FISHING — Anglers got some thrills last month from the Yakama Tribe's 15-year effort to reestablish coho salmon in upper Columbia tributaries.
This year's count of the late-spawning salmon into the upper Columbia region is the highest in 78 years, and more are still to come, allowing the first coho fishing season in memory in the Wenatchee and Methow rivers. The coho season closed Monday, but some steelheaders continue to hook into them occasionally.
As of Sunday, 28,662 adult coho swam up the fish ladders at Rock Island Dam, nearly a third more than the last big run in 2009.
Tom Scribner, a biologist who started the coho reintroduction program for the Yakamas in 1996, estimates between 30,000 and 40,000 coho will come over the dam before the run is over. The year he started, coho were all but extinct in the upper Columbia River. None made it to Rock Island that year, he told the Wenatchee World.
“Every year when we break a record it blows me away,” he said last week. ”In 2009, when we had almost 20,000 (adults at Rock Island), that was off the map. … This (year’s run)is beyond my wildest dreams.”
On Oct. 5, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife opened the first coho fishing season on the Wenatchee and Methow rivers in at least 30 years. Jeff Korth, the agency’s regional fish manager in Ephrata, said he couldn’t find any record at all of a coho season on those rivers, and believes it’s been 40 or 50 years since one anyone has fished these two major tributaries for the late-run salmon.
A short coho season was held on the Icicle River in 2009.
Coho historically were the second most-abundant salmon species (behind chinook) in the Wenatchee and Methow rivers, Scribner told the World.
The return of the fish is creating one more reason NOT to go fishing in Alaska.
Read on for more of the story from the Wenatchee World.
SALMON FISHING — With a strong run of coho moving up the Columbia, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has announced a coho fishing season that starts Wednesday (Oct. 5) on the Wenatchee, Methow and Icicle rivers, expanding fishing opportunities already under way in those waters.
Predicting a strong return of coho to the upper Columbia River system, state fishery managers scheduled coho fisheries through Oct. 31 on all three rivers.
Read on for the details.
RIVER RUNNING — A 69-year-old Chelan County woman drowned Sunday while on a guided rafting trip on the Wenatchee River.
The Wenatchee World says Sharon G. Hughes was one of seven family members and a guide in a raft that hit log jam in the middle of the afternoon. Six family members were able to climb out of the raft onto the log jam, said Sgt. Mike Harris. But the raft flipped over with Hughes and the guide in it, throwing them both into the water. Harris said the woman was swept under the log jam, but washed back out after being under it for one to two minutes.
Rafters indicated the accident occurred at logs blocking the river left side of Boulder Bend rapids.
Read on for details.