The following is a brief summary of emergency and permanent sport fishing regulations for smelt, salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and shad on the mainstem Columbia River and its tributaries plus razor clam digging at Long Beach. For additional permanent rules, see the 2015-16 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet.
WDFW cancels first 2 days of upcoming razor clam dig;
April 26 opening depends on toxin tests
State shellfish managers have canceled the first two days (April 24 and 25) of a tentatively planned eight-day razor clam dig due to rising marine toxin levels. The department will announce next week whether the rest of the dig, now scheduled to begin April 26, will go forward as planned.
Recent tests have found toxin levels at all ocean beaches meet health standards but the Washington Department of Health has asked for one more test to be sure. In the last few days, increasing levels of the algae that can cause domoic acid in ocean water has been seen.
Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. The toxin has disrupted razor clam digs along Washington's coast over the past two years.
The department will announce the results of the upcoming toxin test early next week on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.
The proposed dig, along with morning low tides and beaches, is listed below:
- April 26, Wednesday, 7:09 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
- April 27, Thursday, 7:55 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Long Beach
- April 28, Friday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.8 feet, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Long Beach
- April 29, Saturday, 9:32 a.m.; -1.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Long Beach
- April 30, Sunday, 10:24 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Long Beach
- May 1, Monday, 11:20 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Long Beach
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW's website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.
During any upcoming digs, state wildlife managers urge clam diggers to avoid disturbing snowy plovers and streaked horned larks. Both species nest in the soft, dry sand on the southern section of Twin Harbors beach and at Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula. The snowy plover is a small bird with gray wings and a white breast. The lark is a small bird with a pale yellow breast and brown back. Male larks have a black mask, breast band and "horns."
To protect these birds, the department asks that clam diggers avoid the dunes and areas of the beach with soft, dry sand. When driving to a clam-digging area, diggers should enter the beach only at designated access points and stay on the hard-packed sand near or below the high tide line.
Columbia River Mainstem
A hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 19 at 1 PM via teleconference to review harvest and stock status and consider the recreational spring Chinook fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam.
Mainstem Columbia from Buoy 10 upstream to the I-5 Bridge (except Lewis River sanctuary) – Open to fishing for hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead April 20-23. The salmonid daily limit is 6 fish. Up to 2 may be hatchery steelhead or 1 hatchery adult Chinook and 1 hatchery steelhead.
Lewis River sanctuary: No angling is allowed. This closed area is defined as a line from a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island through USCG buoy Red #4 to the Oregon shore, downstream to a line from the lower (north) end of Sauvie Island across the Columbia River to the downstream range marker (0.7 miles downstream of the Lewis River) and continuing along the wing jetty to the Washington shore.
Mainstem Columbia from the I-5 Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam – Open to fishing for hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead April 20-23. No boats (bank only) from Beacon Rock upstream. The salmonid daily limit is 6 fish. Up to 2 may be hatchery steelhead or 1 hatchery adult Chinook and 1 hatchery steelhead.
Mainstem Columbia from Bonneville Dam upstream to Washington/Oregon Border – Through May 5, open to fishing for hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead. Bank fishing only using hand-casted lines (no floating device to set lines) from Bonneville Dam to Tower Island power lines located about 6 miles below The Dalles Dam. The salmonid daily limit is 6 fish. Up to 2 may be hatchery steelhead or 1 hatchery adult Chinook and 1 hatchery steelhead.
Mainstem Columbia from Buoy 10 upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge - Through May 15, the mainstem Columbia River is open for retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead ONLY during days and in areas open for retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook.
Mainstem Columbia from The Dalles Dam upstream to McNary Dam - When open for spring Chinook through June 15, anglers may possess up to 4 hatchery adult Chinook salmon in fresh form. Anglers aboard a boat may only possess one daily limit of salmon in fresh form.
Deep River - Through June 15, the salmonid daily limit in Deep River is the same as mainstem Columbia River when the mainstem Columbia below Bonneville Dam is open for hatchery Chinook retention. On days when the mainstem Columbia River is closed to Chinook retention, permanent salmonid daily limits for Deep River apply.
Lower Cowlitz and Kalama rivers - The hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho daily limit is 6 fish of which no more than 2 may be adults.
Lewis River (including North Fork) – Until further notice, closed to fishing for spring Chinook. Fishing for hatchery steelhead remains open.
Klickitat River from mouth (Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge) to upstream Fisher Hill Bridge – Through May 31, the salmon and steelhead daily limit is 2 hatchery Chinook or 2 hatchery steelhead or one of each. Open to fishing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays only.
Lower Columbia mainstem from the mouth upstream to McNary Dam including adjacent tributaries – All sturgeon must be released. Catch and release is allowed.
Mainstem Columbia from Buoy 10 upstream to Bonneville Dam - Through May 15, the mainstem Columbia River is open for retention of shad ONLY during days and in areas open for retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook.
State fishing and hunting licenses are available for the new season (begins April 1, 2016) by phone (866-246-9453), online https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), and from licensing dealers around the state (http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/). A Vehicle Access Pass to lands owned by WDFW is free with most types of fishing and hunting licenses.
This endorsement allows you to use two fishing poles on most freshwater lakes, ponds, a few sections of certain rivers, and a few marine areas. Youth and adult anglers must have a fishing license in addition to the two pole endorsement.
At $35, an annual pass provides access to nearly seven million acres of state-managed recreation lands, including state parks, water-access points, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas, trails and trailheads.