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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

This document is provided for archival purposes only.
Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

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May 19, 1998
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073

Southeast stream fishing rules changed to protect listed species

When river and stream fishing opens June 1, some waters in southeast Washington will be under new rules to protect threatened or endangered fish.

The current regulations are in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) 1998 fishing regulations pamphlet, available at all fishing license dealers and WDFW offices.

Most changes were made to protect naturally-produced steelhead and bull trout that are currently listed, or are proposed for listing, under the Endangered Species Act.

Several smaller streams are closed, and no longer will be stocked with hatchery fish, in order to provide refuge areas for steelhead. Seasons on several local streams are changed to the statewide standard of June 1 through Oct. 31 with an 8-inch minimum size. This allows most steelhead smolts to leave the area before the season begins and allows resident trout to spawn once before being subject to harvest. Selective fishing gear rules are added in some stream reaches to reduce accidental loss of protected fish. Barbless hooks are required for steelhead fishing throughout southeast Washington and wild steelhead must be released statewide.

Specific southeast Washington stream regulation changes are as follows, but anglers should check the regulations pamphlet carefully before fishing:

  • Asotin Creek -- tributaries closed to all fishing include Charlie, George and South Fork Asotin creeks.
  • Grande Ronde River -- trout fishing above the County Road Bridge closes Aug. 31, to separate it from steelhead-only season that begins Sept. 1; all tributaries are closed to steelhead fishing.
  • Mill Creek -- selective gear rules now apply upstream of the Bennington Lake flood diversion dam; all tributaries are closed to all fishing, including Blue Creek.
  • Pataha Creek -- changed throughout to June 1 - Oct. 31 season. Touchet River no minimum size on brown trout Nov. 1- April 15; selective gear rules apply upstream of the confluence of the North and South forks.
  • Tucannon River -- selective gear rules added upstream from Turner Road Bridge at Marengo; minimum size for bull trout changed to 24 inches in that portion of the river upstream from signs referencing Deer Lake.
  • Walla Walla River -- all tributaries are closed to steelhead fishing, except Lower Mill Creek and the Touchet River.
The new regulations for channel catfish (12-inch minimum size, five fish per day catch limit) does not apply to the Snake and Columbia rivers. As stated in the statewide general freshwater rules on page 54 of the 1998 fishing pamphlet, these new catfish rules apply only to lakes, ponds and reservoirs.