With the approach of the traditional fishing opener on the last Saturday in April,
the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) alerts southeast Washington
anglers to changes in fishing regulations and hatchery fish stocking.
Most changes, approved earlier this year by the Washington Fish and Wildlife
Commission in accordance with WDFW's Wild Salmonid Policy, are aimed at
protecting wild steelhead. Wild steelhead have been listed under the Endangered
Species Act as "threatened" in the Snake River drainage, and are proposed for listing
in the Walla Walla River Basin.
Some southeast streams, which had been opening in late April or were open
year around, now will be open June 1 - Oct. 31. They no longer will be listed
individually in the new 1998 fishing rules pamphlet, which goes into effect May 1,
because they will be governed by the statewide general season rules for streams and
rivers. Those streams no longer will be stocked with hatchery rainbow trout to avoid
competition with wild steelhead and to reduce the chance of anglers harvesting juvenile
steelhead while seeking trout. These waters are:
- Alkali Flat Creek north of the Snake River (Whitman County)
- Alpowa Creek near Clarkston (Asotin County)
- Coppei Creek near Waitsburg (Columbia County)
- Deadman Creek near Central Ferry (Garfield County)
- Dry Creek near Dixie and Walla Walla (Walla Walla County)
The portion of Pataha Creek in Pomeroy will be stocked with hatchery trout for
juvenile fishing as usual.
- Pataha Creek portions outside Pomeroy (Garfield County)
Other changes in southeast Washington will provide expanded fishing
opportunity. Lyons Park Pond in College Place and Jefferson Park Pond in Walla Walla
will be open year around. Curl Lake in the upper Tucannon River Basin will change
from a June 1 to an April 25 opener. A shift to use of Curl Lake for chinook salmon
instead of steelhead acclimation allows for earlier release of smolts and restocking with
All area lakes and ponds will be well stocked with hatchery rainbow trout to
maintain fishing opportunity. Additionally, 700 sterile (triploid) rainbow trout each
weighting 1.5 pounds were purchased by the Tri-State Steelheaders and the
Broughton Land Company and stocked by WDFW into Bennington Lake and Lyons
Park Pond in Walla Walla County and in Dayton Pond in Columbia County.