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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Hatchery steelhead must be kept on Upper Columbia and tribs

Greg Knab of Winthrop with a steelhead form the Methow River caught Sept. 28, 2011.
 (Darrell & Dad's Family Guide Service)
Greg Knab of Winthrop with a steelhead form the Methow River caught Sept. 28, 2011. (Darrell & Dad's Family Guide Service)

FISHING -- Starting Wednesday, Oct. 8, anglers must keep all the fin-clipped hatchery steelhead they catch in the upper Columbia River and portions of five tributaries up to their daily limit of two.

Fish managers want to thin out the big numbers of hatchery steelhead that are coming upstream with the wild fish stocks that are protected by Endangered Species rules.

Here's the info just-released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Action:  Allow retention of hatchery steelhead.

General Rules:

  1. Mandatory retention of hatchery steelhead, identified by a missing adipose fin with a healed scar at the location of the clipped fin.
  2. Daily limit two (2) hatchery steelhead.
  3. Selective gear rules and night closure are in effect for all steelhead fishery areas, except the use of bait is allowed on mainstem Columbia River.
  4. Adipose present steelhead must be released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.
  5. Release all steelhead with a floy (anchor) tag attached and/or one or more round 1/4 inch in diameter holes punched in the caudal (tail) fin.
  6. Motorized vessels are not allowed on the Wenatchee and Icicle Rivers (Chelan Co ordinance 7.20.190 Motorboat restrictions) 

Effective dates and locations:

1)  Mainstem Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam; October 8, 2014 until further notice.

2) Wenatchee River from the mouth to the Wenatchee River at the Icicle Road Bridge, including the Icicle River from the mouth, to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam; October 8, 2014 until further notice.

3) Entiat River from the mouth to approximately ½ mile upstream to a point perpendicular with the intersection of the Entiat River Road and Hedding Street; October 8, 2014 until further notice.

4) Methow River from the mouth to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop; October 8, 2014 until further notice. Fishing from a floating device is prohibited from the second powerline crossing (1 mile upstream from the mouth) to the first Hwy 153 Bridge (4 miles upstream from the mouth).

5) Okanogan River from the mouth to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville; October 8, 2014 until further notice.

6) Similkameen River, from its mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam; November 1, 2014 until further notice.

Reason for action: Hatchery-origin steelhead in excess of desired escapement are forecast to return to the upper Columbia River. The 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 stock recruitment of upper Columbia River steelhead through perpetuation of steelhead stocks with the greatest natural-origin lineage.

Other information:

Fishing rules are subject to change and that rivers can close at any time due to impacts on natural origin steelhead. Adhering to the mandatory retention of adipose clipped steelhead is vital in allowing the fishery to continue and to provide the maximum benefit to natural origin fish.

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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