OLYMPIA – Starting April 1, anglers who fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries will be required to purchase a new endorsement that will help maintain and improve fishing opportunities throughout the basin.
The Columbia River Recreational Salmon and Steelhead Pilot Program endorsement was authorized by Senate Bill 5421 during the 2009 Legislative session. The annual endorsement was one of several license fee changes approved by the Legislature earlier this year to help offset a $30 million cutback in state funding for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The total charge of the endorsement, after transaction and dealer fees, will be $8.75. The endorsement and recreational fishing licenses for the licensing year that begins April 1, 2010 can be purchased beginning Dec. 1, 2009.
Funds generated from the endorsement fee will support the evaluation of selective fisheries in the Columbia River Basin, said John Long, WDFW’s statewide salmon and steelhead fisheries manager. Funds also will be used for other management activities, including fisheries enforcement, data collection and monitoring.
Selective fisheries allow anglers to catch and keep abundant hatchery fish, which are marked with a missing adipose fin, but require that they release wild fish.
“This program is designed to support current selective sport fisheries for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries, and – to the maximum extent possible – expand those opportunities in the future,” said Long.
The endorsement will be required, along with a fishing license, for anglers 15 years of age and older to fish for salmon and steelhead on the Columbia River and its tributaries when open to fishing for those species.
WDFW, working with the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Recreational Advisory Board, has proposed a list of rivers, lakes and other waters in the Columbia River basin where the endorsement will be required. That list, available on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/crss_endorsement/, is one of more than 100 proposed sportfishing rules for 2010-12.
The entire sportfishing rule-proposal package can be found on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/index.htm.