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Upper Columbia River And Many Tributaries Open For Steelhead Fishing




Sections of upper Columbia River, tributaries to open for steelhead, rainbow fishing


Action: Open the Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to the powerlines crossing the Columbia River at Doroga State Park, and including the lower Wenatchee and Entiat Rivers to retention of adipose-fin clipped hatchery-origin steelhead and rainbow until further notice.

Effective date: Nov. 20, 2015, until further notice.

Species affected: Hatchery steelhead and rainbow trout.

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 of two (2) hatchery steelhead (20 inch minimum size).

3) Daily limit of five (5) hatchery rainbow trout (less than 20 inches in total length), identified by a missing adipose fin with a healed scar at the location of the clipped fin.

4) Anglers must cease fishing when a daily limit of two (2) hatchery steelhead are obtained, regardless of the number of hatchery rainbow trout obtained.

5) Selective gear rules and night closure are in effect for all steelhead fishery areas, except the use of bait is allowed on the mainstem Columbia River.

6) Steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

7) 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.


1) Columbia River: From Rock Island Dam to the powerlines crossing the Columbia River at Doroga State Park.

2) Wenatchee River: From the mouth to the Icicle Road Bridge.

3) Entiat River: From the mouth to approximately one half mile upstream to a point perpendicular with the intersection of the Entiat River Road and Hedding Street.

Reason for action: The updated forecast to estimate steelhead abundance indicates that hatchery-origin steelhead in excess of desired escapement and ample numbers of natural-origin steelhead to implement a fishery will return to the above sections of the upper Columbia River and tributaries. The fishery will reduce the number of excess hatchery-origin steelhead and consequently increase the proportion of natural-origin steelhead on the spawning grounds.

Other Information:

Waters remaining open to steelhead fishing until further notice include:

1) Okanogan River: From the mouth to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville.

2) Similkameen River: From the mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam.

3) Columbia River from the Hwy 173 bridge at Brewster to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam

Anglers should be aware that 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.

WDFW is conducting a steelhead radio telemetry study in the Columbia River upstream of the Yakima River over the next two years to help inform abundance estimates. Radio tagged fish will have what appears to be a heavy braided line extending from the mouth/throat of the fish. Anglers should not attempt to remove the tag unless the fish is legal to harvest. When a radio tagged hatchery fish is harvested, anglers should report and return the tag per instructions written on the radio tag. WDFW appreciates the voluntary cooperation from the public in the management of our fish populations.

Anglers are required to possess a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement as part of their valid fishing license. 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 spring Chinook fisheries. The endorsement has generated more than $1 million annually for WDFW to maintain and increase fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River basin.

Information contacts: Travis Maitland, District 7 Fish Biologist, (509) 665-3337; Jeff Korth, Region 2 Fish Program Manager

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