OLYMPIA – Fishery managers are reducing the daily limit for hatchery steelhead to one fish on the Snake River and other streams in southeast Washington beginning Sept. 4 to protect weak runs.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will implement the new rule on the Snake River, as well as the Grande Ronde, Touchet, Tucannon, and Walla Walla rivers.
Chris Donley, WDFW regional fish program manager, said monitoring at Bonneville Dam now indicates that 96,500 upriver steelhead will return to the Columbia River this year, down from 182,400 fish projected before the fishing season began. Many of those fish are bound for the Snake River, the largest tributary of the Columbia, and its tributaries.
“Making this change now will help us meet our conservation objectives for wild steelhead and still allow anglers some fishing opportunity,” Donley said. “However, we will continue to monitor the run of steelhead to the Snake River and adjust as necessary.”
The new rule comes just a week after fishery managers closed a large section of the Columbia River to steelhead fishing.
State fishery managers also announced on Friday that steelhead retention will close Sept. 4 on the lower White Salmon River, another tributary of the Columbia River. More information on that is available online at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/, where the rule changes on the Snake River and its tributaries can also be found.