Today, September 29, hatchery steelhead fisheries open on the upper Columbia, Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, Methow, and Okanogan rivers, according to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) press release.
More than 33,000 summer steelhead have been counted at Priest Rapids Dam, well above the overall return’s 10-year average of nearly 14,500.
Most fisheries are scheduled to remain open through March 2010; however, this closing date is subject to change.
On all rivers, anglers have a daily limit of four adipose-fin-clipped hatchery steelhead, each measuring at least 20 inches in length. Steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be immediately released unharmed without being removed from the water. Anglers also are required to release any steelhead with one or more round holes punched in the tail fin.
Additionally, anglers are required to retain any legal hatchery steelhead they catch until the daily limit of four fish is reached. After they have retained four fish, anglers must stop fishing for hatchery steelhead. WDFW officials said that they will closely monitor the fisheries and enforce fishing rules to ensure protection of wild steelhead.