Strong returns of summer-run steelhead have allowed more liberal catch limits in two Lower Columbia River tributaries, state Fish and Wildlife announced in a press release.
Those fishing from the Mt. Norway Bridge downstream of the Washougal River may keep up to three hatchery steelhead beginning Saturday (May 22) through Oct. 31; and from the Mt. Norway Bridge upstream and in the West (North) Fork beginning June 5 through Oct. 31.
Through May 19, 357 hatchery summer run steelhead had returned to Skamania Hatchery.
All trout, except hatchery steelhead, must be released. The mainstem Washougal from the mouth to Mt. Norway Bridge, selective gear rules remain in effect through June 4.
Anglers in the Cowlitz River may also keep up to three hatchery steelhead from Saturday (May 22) through Oct. 31 from the Hwy. 4 bridge at Kelso upstream to Mayfield Dam.
Through May 15, 165 hatchery summer run steelhead had returned to the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery.
Through June 4 all game fish in the Cowlitz, except hatchery steelhead, must be released. Beginning June 5 the trout (including hatchery steelhead) daily limit will be five fish of which up to three may be hatchery steelhead. Minimum size is 12 inches. Release wild cutthroat.
The lower portions of the South Fork Toutle and Green rivers will open Saturday (May 22) for hatchery steelhead, which is two weeks earlier than scheduled.
This includes the South Fork Toutle River from the mouth to the 4700 Road Bridge, and the Green River from the mouth to 400 feet below the water intake at the upper end of the hatchery.
Daily limit is two hatchery steelhead. Wild steelhead and all other game fish (including trout) must be released. Selective gear rules will be in effect through June 4.
Under permanent rules, the entire South Fork Toutle River and the Green River from the mouth to the 2800 Road Bridge will open to fishing for hatchery steelhead beginning the first Saturday in June (which is June 5 this year).
Under permanent rules, all tributaries to the South Fork Toutle and Green rivers remain closed to all fishing.
Hatchery summer run steelhead are released into the South Fork Toutle and Green rivers, and these aren’t needed for broodstock.
Selective gear rules will be in effect through June 4 to minimize potential handling of smolts and/or wild winter run steelhead that may be still present.