Monday, October 12, 2015/lk
OLYMPIA Steelhead and rainbow trout fishing opens Thursday with clipped adipose fins on the Columbia River below Wells Dam to Chief Joseph Dam near Bridgeport.
Also open due to an emergency rules change are the Methow and Okanogan Rivers.
An excess of desired escapement of steelhead 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, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said.
The Similkameen River will open Nov. 1.
Rules include mandatory retention of fish with a missing adipose fin that includes a healed scar; 2 steelhead limit, 20-inch minimum and stop fishing when two steelhead are taken regardless of the number of hatchery rainbow trout taken; and five daily limit for rainbow trout less than 20 inches.
Steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be released unharmed and not removed from the water. Steelhead with a floy (anchor) tag must be released.
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.
The Columbia River to be opened until further notice is from the powerlines crossing the Columbia River approximately ¾ mile downstream of Wells Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.
The Methow River will open from the mouth to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop. Fishing from a floating device is prohibited from the second powerline crossing (1 mile upstream from the mouth) to the first Highway 153 Bridge (4 miles upstream from the mouth).
The Okanogan River will pen from the mouth to the Highway 97 bridge in Oroville.
The Similkameen River will open Nov. 1 from its mouth to 400 feet below Enloe 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.