OLYMPIA - The Okanogan and Similkameen rivers in northcentral Washington state will close to steelhead fishing on March 31, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The rivers have been open by emergency regulation to hatchery steelhead fishing since last fall, said Bob Leland, steelhead manager. The run was large enough and impacts to wild steelhead low enough to provide a full season fishery this year.
This steelhead season on the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers was allowed under the 10-year permit with NOAA Fisheries authorizing WDFW fish-management activities on the upper Columbia River and its tributaries, provided they do not conflict with ongoing efforts to recover wild steelhead populations listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Leland said the Okanogan River remains open to game fish other than trout and steelhead from the mouth to the highway bridge at Malott, while the Similkameen River whitefish season closes March 31.
WDFW fishing rule changes can be found on the department's website or via telephone at (360) 902-2500.