OLYMPIA – The Methow River will close to fishing at 12:01 a.m. Saturday (Sept. 26), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The early closure of the catch-and-release fishery, which was originally scheduled to run through Sept. 30, is necessary to avoid additional incidental catch of protected wild steelhead, said Jeff Korth, regional fish program manager for WDFW.
The fishery is allowed under a federal permit that prescribes strict limits on the incidental catch of wild steelhead, listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“We’ve recently seen an increase in the number of steelhead returning to the Methow, as well as in the number of anglers on the river,” Korth said. “That combination has resulted in quickly reaching the catch-and-release fishery’s ESA limit for incidentally caught wild steelhead.”
Korth said fishery managers are assessing the steelhead run to the region and – based upon wild and hatchery returns – could open a fishery within the next week for hatchery steelhead on portions of the upper Columbia River and some tributaries. That hatchery steelhead fishery would be allowed under a separate federal permit.
Anglers should check for updates on fishing seasons on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.