OLYMPIA – An unusually high number of anglers violating closures on the Wenatchee and Entiat rivers and portions of the Methow River has prompted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to remind anglers that fishing for game fish isn’t allowed on these waters.
On the Methow alone, enforcement officers contacted 27 anglers recently and informed them they can’t fish there, said Capt. Steve Dauma, WDFW regional enforcement captain for North Central Washington. Officers generally come in contact with a small percentage of anglers, Dauma estimates, so the number of people fishing illegally could be higher.
WDFW personnel have also tried to get the word out by posting signs at river access points and distributing fliers to businesses that sell fishing licenses, said Bob Jateff, WDFW district fish biologist for Okanogan County.
Of the three rivers, only a stretch of the Methow from Gold Creek to Weeman Bridge is ever open to fishing for game fish other than whitefish. That season runs from June 1 to Sept. 30.
Anglers’ confusion might stem from a change in the 2005-06 “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet. In past editions, “CLOSED WATERS” was written in the “Special Rules” section for the three rivers. This year, the standing closure wasn’t specifically detailed in those waters, possibly leading anglers to assume that the statewide season of June 1 to Oct. 31 is in effect.