The wait is over for the much anticipated Eastern Washington steelhead fisheries.
Beginning Tuesday (Oct. 16) hatchery steelhead fishing will open until further notice on Upper Columbia mainstem, Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, Methow and Okanogan rivers.
This will be followed by Nov. 1 opening of the Similkameen River for hatchery steelhead.
State fisheries managers are forecasting about 18,000 steelhead to the Upper Columbia River. Wild steelhead returns are predicted to fall short, and normally these fisheries usually remain open through winter, but may close earlier than expected.
Daily limit is two adipose-fin-clipped hatchery steelhead with a minimum size limit of 20 inches. Also release any steelhead with a floy (anchor) tag and those with one or more round quarter-inch holes punched in their caudal (tail) fin.
Anglers must keep all legal hatchery steelhead caught. Once their two fish daily limit is reached, anglers must stop fishing for hatchery steelhead.
Selective gear rules are in effect although bait may be used on the Columbia mainstem. Motorized vessels aren’t allowed on the Wenatchee or Icicle rivers.
Open sections are:
Columbia River mainstem from Rock Island Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, except bait is allowed.
Wenatchee River from the mouth to the Icicle River Road Bridge, including the Icicle River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam. Night closure and selective gear rules apply. Motorized vessels are not allowed.
Entiat River above the Alternate Highway 97 Bridge near the mouth of the Entiat River to 800 feet downstream of the Entiat National Fish Hatchery outfall. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.
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. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.
Okanogan River from the mouth to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.
Similkameen River from the mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.
Vernita, Priest Rapids and Wanapum areas won’t be open for steelhead fishing this fall.
Anglers must have a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement.