VANCOUVER, Wash.– A public meeting to review planned changes in summer-run steelhead fishing rules for upper Kalama river will be held here April 23.
The session will begin at 7 p.m. in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) regional headquarters, 2108 Grand Boulevard, Vancouver.
During the meeting, WDFW fish biologists will outline plans to set catch-and-release fishing rules beginning May 1 for hatchery steelhead caught in the upper river above the Kalama Falls Hatchery. The WDFW staff members also will describe on-going research efforts which necessitate the rule change.
Most fishing effort takes place in the lower river below the hatchery, where fishing rules will remain unchanged, said Pat Hulett, WDFW fish biologist. However, anglers who catch hatchery steelhead in the upper river will not be allowed to keep those fish for the next three years.
The catch-and-release rules for hatchery fish in the upper river are being implemented because an experimental group of fish reared in the hatchery from wild Kalama broodstock are being passed upstream of the hatchery for the next few years to gauge their ability to successfully spawn and produce viable offspring in the wild. The new catch-and-release rules allow scientists to accurately compare the relative reproductive success of hatchery-reared and wild fish by ensuring that both have an equal opportunity to spawn.
"This is a test of the use of hatcheries to rear and release wild fish progeny and contribute to natural production as a tool in wild fish recovery, " Hulett said.
Marked hatchery fish (with the adipose fin removed) caught in the lower Kalama river below the hatchery may be retained as usual. No wild (unmarked) steelhead may be retained anywhere on the river.