SPOKANE – Steelhead fishing in the Snake River will get a boost from about 1,000 adult steelhead returned to the river by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from the Lyons Ferry Hatchery.
The fish are not needed for steelhead propagation, so they are being released back into the river at the hatchery, said Steve Rodgers, WDFW hatchery complex manager.
“Typically, fishing improves dramatically after we release excess fish,” Rodgers said. “The effect is particularly noticeable around the hatchery on the Snake River up to the mouth of the Tucannon River.”
Before release, the caudal fin or tail of each fish is partially clipped to identify it in case it is trapped again. On most fish, the adipose or ventral fin is also clipped, identifying them as hatchery-reared steelhead that can be retained by anglers.
Rodgers noted that WDFW is still trapping fall chinook salmon at Lyons Ferry for hatchery production, and that any steelhead collected there will also be returned to the river.
Lyons Ferry Hatchery is located on the Snake River on the Franklin-Walla Walla county line, between Little Goose Dam to the east and Lower Monumental Dam to the west. As stated in the fishing rules pamphlet, all fishing is closed in the area within a 400-foot radius around the fish ladder entrance at the hatchery.