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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


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November 19, 1998
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360) 902-2256

Release wild Puyallup steelhead and Columbia River sturgeon

OLYMPIA -- New emergency regulations require anglers to release wild steelhead caught in the Puyallup River and its tributaries and sturgeon caught in portions of the Columbia River and some of its tributaries, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

Both actions are necessary to protect fish populations.

As of 12:01 a.m. tomorrow (Nov. 20), anglers must release wild steelhead caught in the Puyallup and its tributaries, including the Carbon River. The Fishing In Washington regulation pamphlet says wild steelhead caught from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31 in the Puyallup between the 11th Street Bridge in Tacoma and the Soldier's Home Bridge in Orting may be kept. The printed regulations also allow wild steelhead retention in the Carbon River downstream of the Highway 162 Bridge.

Anglers may continue to keep hatchery steelhead, which have no adipose fins.

WDFW biologists said there have not been enough wild steelhead returning to the Puyallup system to meet the 2,000-fish spawning goal since 1996. The number of wild steelhead caught in Indian and non-Indian fisheries also has been declining. Only three wild fish were caught in all fisheries in the 1997-98 season.

Anglers also must release sturgeon caught in the Columbia River and its tributaries between John Day and McNary dams beginning at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 23.

Biologists expect the guideline of 560 sturgeon will be caught by recreational anglers in the reservoir by that date.

Anglers may continue to fish for sturgeon in the reservoir but must release them unharmed immediately.

Harvest guidelines for sturgeon are designed to ensure Indian and non-Indian fishers don't overharvest sturgeon trapped between Bonneville and McNary dams.

The Bonneville and The Dalles reservoirs were closed earlier this year.

All three reservoirs are expected to reopen to sturgeon retention on Jan. 1.