Follow us:

Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 4, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Wenatchee and Methow open for coho for first time in 30 years, after nearly vanishing in 1930s on Upper Columbia

(CORRECTION NOTICE: State Fish and Wildlife announced on Wednesday, Oct. 5, that an earlier version of this news release misstated the daily catch limit for adult chinook salmon on the Wenatchee River. The correct catch limit on the Wenatchee River is two hatchery-marked adult and jack summer chinook salmon with clipped adipose fins per day.)

For the first time in at least 30 years the Wenatchee and Methow rivers will be open for coho fishing, and the Icicle River will also open for the first time since 2009.

A strong return of coho to the Upper Columbia River system will allow anglers to pursue them when they open Wednesday, Oct. 5-31.

In a news release Jeff Korth, the northcentral region fish manager for state Fish and Wildlife says, 20,000 adult coho are expected to return this year above Rock Island Dam, more than enough for spawning escapement and hatchery broodstock needs.

“Coho salmon nearly disappeared from the upper Columbia River in the early 1930s, but they’ve really made a comeback in the past decade,” said Korth, crediting re-introduction programs conducted by the Yakama Nation. “This gives anglers fishing for hatchery steelhead and chinook salmon more opportunities to take home some fish.”

Steelhead fishing is currently open on the Wenatchee, Methow and Icicle rivers with a daily limit of two hatchery fish per day. Anglers fishing the Wenatchee River may also retain up to two hatchery-marked adult and jack summer chinook salmon with clipped adipose fins per day.

Areas opening to coho fishing include:

The Wenatchee River, from the mouth of the Wenatchee River to the mouth of the Icicle River. Anglers should be aware that the upper boundary of the coho fishery on the Wenatchee River is downstream from the boundary for the chinook and steelhead fisheries.

The Icicle River, from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.

The Methow River, from the mouth to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop. Fishing from a floating device is prohibited from the second powerline crossing to the first Highway 153 Bridge.

On all those rivers, anglers can catch up to three coho salmon – with or without an intact adipose fin – in addition to the catch limits for other species. Coho must measure at least 12 inches to be retained.

Selective gear rules and a night closure will be in effect to help protect wild steelhead, some of which are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

“By law, all fisheries in these areas must close immediately if the allowable incidental impact to wild steelhead is reached,” Korth said.

Anglers also will be required to release any coho fitted with a floy (anchor) tag and those with one or more round quarter-inch holes punched in their caudal (tail) fin. Motorized vessels are not allowed on the Wenatchee or Icicle rivers under Chelan County ordinances.

To participate in these fisheries, anglers must possess a valid fishing license and a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement. Revenue from the endorsement supports salmon or steelhead seasons on many rivers in the Columbia River system, including enforcing fishery regulations and monitoring the upper Columbia River steelhead fisheries.

The endorsement has generated more than $1 million annually for state Fish and Wildlife to maintain and increase fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River Basin.

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►