Rule change for definition of the mouth of the Tucannon River.
Closes fishing effective March 1, 2015.
Effective date: Jan. 19 through Feb. 28, 2015; closed March 1, 2015.
Species affected: Hatchery steelhead (with missing adipose fin) and whitefish.
All (hatchery origin) steelhead with a missing adipose fin landed in the Tucannon River) must be retained. Catch and release of hatchery steelhead is not allowed.
Anglers may retain up to 15 whitefish and 2 hatchery steelhead, but must release all other fish.
Barbless hooks are required.
Release all wild steelhead.
The area from Marengo (at Turner Road Bridge) upstream is closed to fishing.
Location: For this emergency regulation, the Tucannon River is defined as the water lying south of a line of sight from an orange diamond-shaped sign attached to the Hwy 261 guard rail (northwest of the Tucannon River and adjacent to/downstream from the rest area turn off), running southeast across to the eastern, unsubmerged shoreline of the Tucannon River (point of land spit). The large embayment between the eastern shoreline of the Tucannon River and the rock bluff to the east along the south shore of the Snake River is considered part of the Snake River.
Reason for action: Wild steelhead returns to the Tucannon River are below management objectives for conservation and for maintaining fisheries under previous rules. Therefore, the fishery for hatchery steelhead must be constrained to provide more protection of naturally produced steelhead in the Tucannon River. The emergency regulations are designed to focus the fishery on removing stray hatchery steelhead that primarily enter the Tucannon River in late summer and fall to prevent them from spawning.
The emergency rules also provide a refuge area above Marengo to protect early returning wild steelhead, and close the fishery before March when most of the wild steelhead return to the Tucannon River.
Other Information: Anglers must cease fishing for steelhead for the day once they have retained 2 hatchery steelhead. Adipose fin-clipped fish must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin. All steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must be immediately released unharmed.
In addition, anglers may not remove any steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit. Anglers should be sure to identify their catch because chinook and coho salmon, as well as bull trout are also present in the Tucannon River during this steelhead fishery. Gamefish fisheries re-open in the Tucannon River on the first Saturday in June as described in the May 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet.
Information contact: John Whalen, Regional Fish Program Manager at (509) 892-1001 (ext. 304).
Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.