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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Mandatory steelhead retention begins on Hanford Reach


This 1997 photo shows the salmon nesting area of the White Bluffs, located along the Hanford Reach on the Columbia River. 
 (File/Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
This 1997 photo shows the salmon nesting area of the White Bluffs, located along the Hanford Reach on the Columbia River. (File/Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

FISHING -- Hanford Reach anglers must keep all fin-clipped hatchery steelhead they catch up to their daily limit starting Wednesday, Oct. 8, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has just announced.

The rule applies to the Columbia between the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco and Priest Rapids Dam.

Here's the scoop from the agency:

Action:     Open the Columbia River to retention of any hatchery steelhead between the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco and Priest Rapids Dam

Locations and Dates: 

      Area 1: Highway 395 Bridge upstream to old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers; Oct. 8, 2014 – Oct. 31, 2014.

      Area 2:  Old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers to Vernita Bridge; Oct. 8 - Oct. 22, 2014.

      Area 3:  Vernita Bridge to Priest Rapids Dam; Oct. 8 – Oct. 22, 2014 and Nov. 27, 2014 – until further notice.

Special Rules for Areas 2 and 3:

  • Mandatory retention of hatchery steelhead.  Adhering to the mandatory retention of adipose clipped steelhead is vital in allowing the expanded fishery to continue and to provide the maximum benefit to natural origin fish on upper Columbia tributary spawning grounds.
  • Selective gear rules are in effect, except the use of bait is allowed.

Other information:

  • This action removes the requirement for both an adipose fin clip and ventral fin clip for hatchery steelhead retained prior to November 1st in Area1. Fishing in Area 1 for any hatchery steelhead continues by permanent rule from Nov. 1 through Mar. 31, 2015 (see Page 73 in 2014-15 fishing rules pamphlet).
  • Daily limit of two (2) hatchery steelheadHatchery 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.
  • 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.


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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