WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

October 02, 2002
Contact: Bob Gibbons, WDFW, (360) 902-2329
or Bob Leland, WDFW, (360) 902-2817

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Additional public meetings set on potential license changes

OLYMPIA – 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.

The second 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.

Federal 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.

Recreational 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.