May 19, 1998
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073
Southeast stream fishing rules changed to protect listed species
When river and stream fishing opens June 1, some waters in southeast
Washington will be under new rules to protect threatened or endangered fish.
The current regulations are in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's
(WDFW) 1998 fishing regulations pamphlet, available at all fishing license dealers and
Most changes were made to protect naturally-produced steelhead and bull trout
that are currently listed, or are proposed for listing, under the Endangered Species Act.
Several smaller streams are closed, and no longer will be stocked with hatchery
fish, in order to provide refuge areas for steelhead. Seasons on several local streams
are changed to the statewide standard of June 1 through Oct. 31 with an 8-inch
minimum size. This allows most steelhead smolts to leave the area before the season
begins and allows resident trout to spawn once before being subject to harvest.
Selective fishing gear rules are added in some stream reaches to reduce accidental
loss of protected fish. Barbless hooks are required for steelhead fishing throughout
southeast Washington and wild steelhead must be released statewide.
Specific southeast Washington stream regulation changes are as follows, but
anglers should check the regulations pamphlet carefully before fishing:
- Asotin Creek -- tributaries closed to all fishing include Charlie, George
and South Fork Asotin creeks.
- Grande Ronde River -- trout fishing above the County Road Bridge
closes Aug. 31, to separate it from steelhead-only season that begins
Sept. 1; all tributaries are closed to steelhead fishing.
- Mill Creek -- selective gear rules now apply upstream of the Bennington
Lake flood diversion dam; all tributaries are closed to all fishing, including
- Pataha Creek -- changed throughout to June 1 - Oct. 31 season.
Touchet River no minimum size on brown trout Nov. 1- April 15;
selective gear rules apply upstream of the confluence of the North and
- Tucannon River -- selective gear rules added upstream from Turner
Road Bridge at Marengo; minimum size for bull trout changed to 24
inches in that portion of the river upstream from signs referencing Deer
The new regulations for channel catfish (12-inch minimum size, five fish per day
catch limit) does not apply to the Snake and Columbia rivers. As stated in the statewide
general freshwater rules on page 54 of the 1998 fishing pamphlet, these new catfish
rules apply only to lakes, ponds and reservoirs.
- Walla Walla River -- all tributaries are closed to steelhead fishing, except
Lower Mill Creek and the Touchet River.