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Sunday, September 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Tucannon River has too many hatchery steelhead; state asks anglers to help

Steelhead: Fin structure good with distinct margins. Normal head, slender body.  (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)
Steelhead: Fin structure good with distinct margins. Normal head, slender body. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

FISHING -- Washington fish managers have been pleading for anglers to visit the Tucannon River and catch and keep hatchery steelhead to reduce spawning competition with wild fish.  

They're emphasizing the point by upping the catch limit starting Wednesday, March 1, and extending the Tucannon fishing season.

Note:  the river is NOT full of steelhead. In fact, this year's run is poor.  It's the ratio of hatchery and natural spawning fish that's out of whack.

Here are details just released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Action: Rule changes for steelhead fishery and other gamefish.

Dates: March 1 through April 15, 2017  

Species affected: Hatchery steelhead (with a missing adipose fin) and all other gamefish.

  1. Daily limit is increased to 3 hatchery steelhead per day.
  2. Mandatory hatchery steelhead retention is required.
  3. Barbless hooks are required while fishing for steelhead.
  4. Release all other species.
  5. The area from Tucannon Hatchery Road Bridge upstream is closed to fishing.

Reason for action: The fishery is being extended for 46 days, with the allowable catch increased 3 fish per day to remove more hatchery-origin steelhead.

Other Information: Anglers must cease fishing for steelhead for the day once they have retained 3 hatchery steelhead. Adipose fin-clipped fish must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin. All steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must immediately be released unharmed. In addition, anglers cannot remove any steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit.

Refer to the 2016/2017 Fishing in Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other regulations, including possession limits and safety closures.

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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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