A special fishing season for mountain whitefish on the Wenatchee and Methow
rivers in northcentral Washington will open Dec. 1 and run through March 26 with gear
The fishing season is an exception to the recent closure by the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) of all fishing in the tributaries of the upper
Columbia River to protect endangered steelhead trout.
The Wenatchee River will be open to whitefish fishing from the mouth upstream
to Highway 2 Bridge at Leavenworth; the Methow River will be open from the mouth
upstream to the mouth of the Chewuch (Chewack) River.
Gear restrictions are designed for whitefish only -- one single-pointed hook,
size #10 or smaller (under 1/4 inch maximum gap), with bait allowed.
WDFW officials will monitor the fishery to document participation, harvest and
the number of steelhead encounters.
The whitefish season is allowed because accidental hooking of steelhead will
be minimal due to the season's timing, limited area and gear restrictions. The majority
of adult steelhead spend the winter in Columbia River reservoirs at the same time there
are low flows and low water temperatures in the Wenatchee and Methow rivers.
Juvenile steelhead (and resident trout) are not liable to be taken during the whitefish
season since they spend winters concealed in the bottom gravel.
Fishing for trout and steelhead remains closed on the mainstem upper
Columbia River and all tributaries.