Rules Category: Eastern Washington and Columbia Region Freshwater
Species covered in proposed rule • Steelhead
Rule to Change: The Special Rules for the Snake River list trout twice. The first listing has trout open from June 16 - Aug 31, with no hatchery steelhead retention allowed. The second listing for trout has September 1- March 31, with retention of up to 3 hatchery steelhead and barbless hooks required when fishing for steelhead.
New Rule Proposal: Combine the trout listing such that it would be open from June 16 to March 31 with retention of up to 3 hatchery steelhead and barbless hooks required when fishing for steelhead.
Why the change is needed: The existing rule was put in place to protect smolts until June 16 and then allow for the removal of hatchery steelhead smolts that had not migrated out. From June 16 to Aug 31 had a restriction on retention of steelhead to prevent anglers from targeting steelhead and catching and releasing wild steelhead in marginal water temperatures that existed in the Snake River during summer. Now however, water temperatures have decreased because of court mandated cold water discharges from Dworshak reservoir in Idaho to cool the water temperatures in the lower Snake River. Changing the regulation as proposed would align the Snake River regulations better between the Snake and lower Tucannon rivers, it would allow harvest of hatchery steelhead that we don't wish to allow to contribute to natural spawning (as per agency policy for segregated hatchery programs)and the water temperature and wild steelhead impact concerns have been reduced.
Names of individuals or groups with whom you have discussed this change: Steve Martin, Director of SE WA Salmon Recovery Program,
Jeremy Trump, Mike Gembala, Joe Bumgarner - all in the fish program in SE WA,
Ryan John, WDFW enforcement
Joe Dupont, Regional Fisheries Manager for IDFG in Lewiston
Describe their support and/or concerns:
All have expressed their support for this regulation change as it would increase recreational opportunities, reduce hatchery steelhead that might spawn naturally, and it improves alignment of the regulations in the Lower Tucannon with the Snake River, and with recent changes in adjacent areas of Idaho. This was a recommendation from a meeting among fish biologists from IDFG, WDFW and ODFW that met to try and get more similarity in fishing regulations on boundary or adjacent areas of the Snake River.
Submitted by: MENDEL, GLEN — ,
Date submitted: 06/14/2012
WDFW Rule Proposal Recommendation
Recommended for Public Comment Reference ID: DFW942181
Rule Change Recommendation Short Title Increase Snake River hatchery summer steelhead harvest
Rules Category Eastern Washington and Columbia Region Freshwater
Type of Rule Change Proposal Recreational
County or Location Information
Short Description Develop consistent trout/steelhead rules on the Snake River to allow harvest of trout/steelhead from June 16 to March 31 with retention of up to 3 hatchery steelhead and barbless hooks required when fishing for steelhead.
Explanation The existing rule(s) were put in place to protect smolts until June 16 and then allow for the removal of hatchery steelhead smolts that had not migrated. Currently, a restriction on steelhead retention from June 16 to August 31 prevents anglers from targeting wild steelhead during marginal summer water temperatures. However, water temperatures have decreased because court mandated cold water discharges from Dworshak Reservoir in Idaho now cool the water temperatures in the lower Snake River. Changing the regulation as proposed aligns the Snake River regulations better between the Snake and lower Tucannon rivers and allows the harvest of hatchery steelhead that DFW does not want to spawn naturally (as per the agency policy for segregated hatchery programs).