OLYMPIA – The upper Columbia, along with the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers, close to steelhead fishing an hour after sunset Wednesday.
The closures are to minimize impacts to spawning steelhead.
The closures include:
-Main stem Columbia River: From the Highway 173 bridge at Brewster upstream to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.
-Okanogan River: From the mouth to the Highway 97 bridge in Oroville.
-Similkameen River: From the mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam.
General rules for all locations open to steelhead fishing:
-Mandatory retention of hatchery steelhead, as identified by a missing adipose fin with a healed scar at the location of the clipped fin.
-Daily limit of two hatchery steelhead; 20-inch minimum size.
-Daily limit of five hatchery rainbow trout of less than 20 inches in total length, as identified by a missing adipose fin with a healed scar at the location of the clipped fin.
-Anglers must stop fishing when a daily limit of two hatchery steelhead is obtained, regardless of the number of hatchery rainbow trout obtained.
-Selective gear rules and night closure are in effect for all steelhead fishery areas, except the use of bait is allowed on the main stem Columbia River.
-Steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.
-Release all steelhead with a floy (anchor) tag attached and/or one or more round one-quarter inch in diameter holes punched in the caudal (tail) fin.
-Motorized vessels are not allowed on the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers (Chelan County ordinance 7.20.190 Motorboat restrictions).
Areas that will continue to be open for steelhead angling until further notice include:
-Columbia River: From Rock Island Dam to the powerlines crossing the Columbia River at Daroga State Park.
-Wenatchee River: From the mouth to 400 feet below Tumwater Dam. Fishing within 400 feet downstream of Dryden Dam is prohibited.
-Icicle River: From the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.
-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.