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2014 & 2015 Rotating steelhead creel surveys for Lower Columbia River watersheds

Category: Fish/Shellfish Research and Management - Fish/Shellfish Research

Date Published: February 2016

Number of Pages: 7

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages multiple steelhead fisheries in lower Columbia River (LCR) tributaries. Many of these fisheries occur in areas where wild steelhead populations are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The majority of these fisheries provide opportunity to harvest hatchery steelhead, but some also offer specific opportunities for catch and release of wild fish. Although all wild steelhead caught in these fisheries must be released, wild steelhead are still susceptible to post-release mortality and sub-lethal impacts resulting from recreational angling-related injuries. The monitoring of impacts of non-retention fisheries on wild stocks of fish is a critical component of fishery management and a requirement for conducting fisheries under the ESA, as described in WDFW’s LCR Fisheries Management and Evaluation Plan (FMEP; WDFW 2003) and Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMP). With increasing levels of selective fisheries, it is imperative that the reported fishing impacts on wild fish in FMEP’s and HGMP’s be accurate and within acceptable levels. By achieving this, the rebuilding of wild stocks can progress and fishing opportunity can be maximized.