As of July 1, 2019, anglers who fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River basin are no longer required to purchase a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement.
WDFW’s legislative authority to implement the endorsement ended June 30. The department will not be issuing refunds to anglers who purchased the endorsement prior to June 30.
A valid fishing license – a freshwater, combination, or Fish Washington license – is required at all times to fish the Columbia River.
The department is assessing how the loss of revenue from the endorsement will affect salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Columbia basin. That could mean changes to salmon and steelhead fisheries this fall and next spring.
More information is available in this news release.
WDFW will update this website as more information becomes available.
From April 1, 2010 until July 2019, anglers 15 years of age and older fishing for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries were required to purchase an endorsement that helped maintain and improve fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River Basin.
The Columbia River Recreational Salmon and Steelhead Program endorsement was authorized by Senate Bill 5421 during the 2009 Legislative session. The annual endorsement fee was one of several license fee changes approved by that Legislature to help offset a $30 million cutback in state funding for WDFW.
Funds generated from the $8.75 endorsement fee supported needed management activities for continuation and expansion of selective fisheries in the Columbia River Basin. These activities included fisheries enforcement, data collection, monitoring, and evaluation.
As of July 2016, more than 1.4 million endorsements had been sold, generating over $10.3 million in revenue. These funds were used to maintain and improve recreational salmon and steelhead selective fisheries in the Columbia River and its tributaries. Specifically, the funds supported fishery management activities, including scientific monitoring and evaluation, data collection, permitting, reporting, and enforcement.
Without the revenue from this endorsement, and the guidance of the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Recreational Angler Board (CRSSRAB), many popular fisheries may be limited. The CRSSRAB provides recommendations to WDFW for implementation of projects funded by the endorsement stamp. The Board is comprised of up to 10 volunteers, appointed by the Director, representing the four WDFW jurisdictional regions -- Eastern (Region 1), Northcentral (2), Southcentral (3), and Southwest (5) -- which make up the Columbia River Basin.
Working with the CRSSRAB, WDFW developed a list of rivers, lakes and other waters in the Columbia River Basin where the endorsement is required.
For more information, contact the WDFW Fish Program by email or at 360-902-2700.