Published 12/26/2019 at 4:22 AM PDT
By OREGON TRAVEL DAILY STAFF
(Portland, Oregon) - Fishery managers in Oregon and Washington are extending the Columbia River steelhead fishing closure upstream of McNary Dam to the Oregon-Washington state line through March 31, 2020. Both the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) released separate bulletins, as WDFW also puts restrictions on the Snake River.
The 2019 summer steelhead return is the fifth lowest return to McNary Dam on record since 1954, according to ODFW. The continued closure is needed to maximize survival of these fish and ensure sufficient numbers of steelhead will be available to meet hatchery brood stock production needs.
Conservation measures have been in place since July to protect hatchery and wild B-Index steelhead within the Columbia and Snake River basins.
This area of the Columbia River also remains closed to all salmon fishing.
Always check the Columbia River Zone Recreation Report for the latest in-season regulation changes in this zone https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/columbia-zone
In Washington, the WDFW reports steelhead fishing will remain closed along the lower Snake River through March 31. Anglers can, however, retain 1 hatchery steelhead upstream of the Couse Creek Boat Ramp.
The closure is in effect from the mouth of the Snake River (Burbank to Pasco railroad bridge at Snake River mile 1.25) to the Couse Creek Boat Ramp.
There is a daily limit of one hatchery steelhead at Regulatory Reach 2, which is from Couse Creek Boat Ramp upstream to the Idaho/Oregon state line.
“Anglers may not continue to fish for steelhead after the steelhead daily limit has been retained,” WDFW said.
The agency said it has reviewed the adult run size for both A- and B-run summer steelhead passing Ice Harbor Dam and has two conservation concerns within this regulatory reach.
Asotin Creek Steelhead: Asotin Creek has a wild population of steelhead that is predicted to have very low returns this year (fewer than 200 adult fish). Any additional fishing between Clarkston and Couse Creek could have negative impacts on this population.
Snake River B-run Steelhead: Conservation measures have been in place since July to protect natural and hatchery B-run steelhead in the Columbia River, and since September in the Snake River. WDFW believes it is important to provide continued protection for these fish within the Columbia and Snake rivers to maximize survival and return of both wild- and hatchery-origin B-run steelhead.
In Regulatory Reach 2, where steelhead fishing remains open, all steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must be immediately released unharmed. In addition, anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing for steelhead and must stop fishing for steelhead once the daily limit has been retained.
See the Washington regulations page.
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