OLYMPIA – Anglers and others can discuss with state fishery managers this year’s salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Columbia River Basin during a public meeting March 27 in Kennewick.
The meeting is scheduled from 5-9 p.m. at the Benton PUD building, 2721 W. 10th Ave.
Those attending the meeting will have an opportunity to talk to fishery managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) about the pre-season forecasts and upcoming spring, summer and fall fishing seasons, particularly those for salmon and steelhead upstream of McNary Dam.
There will also be a discussion about requiring barbless hooks when fishing for salmon and steelhead on the Columbia River. An emergency rule issued earlier this year currently requires anglers to use barbless hooks on the mainstem Columbia River downstream of the Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles upriver from McNary Dam.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has further directed WDFW to make that barbless hook rule permanent and have it apply to the entire Columbia River and tributaries.
The meeting is part of the salmon season-setting process known as North of Falcon, which involves representatives from federal, state and tribal governments and recreational and commercial fishing industries. Final salmon fishing seasons will be adopted in early April at the Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Portland.
A meeting schedule and more information about the salmon season-setting process for Puget Sound, the Columbia River and the Washington coast is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon.