2015 Upper Columbia River Fishing Report:
Upper Columbia River, tributaries re-open
for steelhead fishing; parts of Okanogan to close
Action 1: Effective immediately, allow retention of hatchery steelhead on portions of the upper Columbia River and portions of the Wenatchee, Entiat, Icicle, Methow, Okanogan, and Similkameen rivers until further notice.
Action 2: Close sections of the Okanogan River on March 1, 2015, to protect natural origin steelhead staging prior to spawning.
Species affected: Hatchery adipose fin clipped steelhead.
ACTION 1 – Reopen hatchery steelhead fishery
Effective dates: Immediately, until further notice.
ACTION 2 – Close steelhead fishing
Effective dates: One hour after sunset Feb. 28, 2015.
REASON FOR ACTIONS: Hatchery-origin steelhead have returned to the upper Columbia River in excess of desired escapement. The fishery will reduce the number of excess hatchery-origin steelhead, and consequently increase the proportion of natural-origin steelhead on the spawning grounds. Higher proportions of naturally produced spawners are expected to improve genetic integrity and stock recruitment of upper Columbia River steelhead through perpetuation of steelhead stocks with the greatest natural-origin lineage.
Sections of the Okanogan River around the mouth of Omak and Tonasket creeks will close early to protect natural origin steelhead staging prior to spawning within those tributaries.
OTHER ANGLER INFORMATION:
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.
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.
See https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=1543 for further details.
This concludes our 2015 Upper Columbia River Fishing Report
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