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

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February 13, 1997
Contact: Madonna Luers, 509-456-4073

Two Tucannon lakes open for trout fishing March 1 through October

SPOKANE -- Just two of the seven Tucannon River man-made lakes in southeast Washington will be stocked with hatchery rainbow trout for the March 1 opening fishing season.

But the season probably will be extended through October, to help make up for the lack of fishing at the other five lakes. The lakes normally close at the end of July.

Spring and Rainbow lakes, the lower two of the seven impoundments along the river in Columbia County, will be stocked with a total of 70,000 catchable-size rainbows from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Tucannon Fish Hatchery. The other five lakes Deer, Watson, Beaver, Big Four, and Blue cannot be stocked with fish because they have intake, access or sediment problems, some of which were caused or worsened by recent flooding. Work to correct those problems will start this spring, but not in time to allow fish stocking.

The man-made lakes traditionally have been open for fishing March 1 through July 31. Last year, when February flooding delayed fish stocking, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission took emergency action to extend the season through October 31. This year WDFW biologists proposed that extension be made permanent. The commission still must approve the proposal.

The season extension is partly to make up for the limited fish stocking in the lakes, but also because fewer fish have been stocked in the Tucannon River system in recent years. The Tucannon River drainage is home to endangered chinook salmon which biologists believe could be harmed by fishing for hatchery-stocked rainbow trout and competition for the same habitat. Fewer hatchery trout are stocked in the river, so more of them will go into the man-made lakes throughout a longer season.