October 02, 2002
Contact: Bob Gibbons, WDFW, (360) 902-2329
or Bob Leland, WDFW, (360) 902-2817
Additional public meetings set on potential license changes
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said Wednesday it was
continuing to seek authorization from federal officials to open a hatchery
steelhead fishery in parts of the Hanford Reach and the upper Columbia, Methow
and Okanogan rivers.
straight year of high returns of steelhead to the upper Columbia River prompted
state fisheries biologists to seek federal approval to open the hatchery steelhead
fishery in the various waters.
approval for the fishery is necessary because of efforts now underway in the
region to recover wild steelhead, which are listed under the Endangered Species
Act (ESA). The proposed hatchery steelhead fishery has been structured to
avoid impeding those recovery efforts.
hatchery steelhead fishing was opened last year in the upper Columbia River
basin for the first time since 1997. Careful monitoring showed that even with
the fishery, the number of steelhead on the spawning grounds increased substantially
in 2001. WDFW officials said they would immediately announce details of the
fishery once it is approved by federal officials. Meanwhile, anglers are reminded
that steelhead fishing in the proposed fishery is closed.