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Looks like the fall we all have been hoping for is arriving soon!
:thumb:

http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/release.php?id=sep0310a

NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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September 03, 2010
Contact: For Hanford Reach fishery: John Easterbrooks, (509) 457-9330

For other fisheries: Jeff Korth, (509) 754-4624

Steelhead fishing begins tomorrow (Sept. 4) on
Hanford Reach; more fisheries opening soon upriver

OLYMPIA - The first of several hatchery steelhead fisheries in the Columbia River Basin gets under way tomorrow (Sept. 4) with the opening of the Hanford Reach section of the Columbia River, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

Hatchery steelhead fisheries also are scheduled to open Sept. 8 on the upper Columbia, Wenatchee, Entiat and Methow rivers. In addition, the Okanogan River will open to hatchery steelhead retention beginning Oct. 1, and the Similkameen River will open for hatchery steelhead fishing Nov. 1.

Anglers fishing the Hanford Reach section of the Columbia River - from the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco to Priest Rapids Dam - will have a daily limit of two adipose fin-clipped hatchery steelhead.

Anglers fishing the upper Columbia, Wenatchee, Entiat, Methow, Okanogan and Similkameen rivers will have a daily limit of four adipose fin-clipped hatchery steelhead.

On all rivers, anglers may keep only hatchery steelhead measuring at least 20 inches in length. Steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be immediately released unharmed and must not be removed from the water. Steelhead anglers must have a valid fishing license and possess a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement.

Anglers will be required to retain any legal hatchery steelhead they catch until the daily limit is reached. After they have reached their daily limit, anglers must stop fishing for steelhead.

A strong run of wild and hatchery-produced steelhead returning to the upper Columbia River allowed WDFW to open the fisheries. As of Aug. 31, about 16,600 steelhead had been counted above Priest Rapids Dam, nearly double the overall return's 10-year average of 8,600.

The selective fisheries, which target returning hatchery fish that exceed the number needed for spawning, were approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Services (NOAA Fisheries). The fisheries will not impede recovery of the region's wild steelhead, which are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Steelhead fisheries are carefully managed to assure that natural-origin steelhead returning to the upper Columbia River Basin survive to spawn. WDFW will closely monitor the fisheries and enforce fishing rules to ensure protection of wild steelhead.

Fishing for hatchery steelhead opens Sept. 4 at:
•Hanford Reach - From the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco to Priest Rapids Dam. The section of the river from the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco to the old Hanford town site wooden powerlines is scheduled to remain open through March 31. The section of the river from the old Hanford town site wooden powerlines to Priest Rapids Dam is scheduled to remain open through Oct. 22.

Areas that will be open from Sept. 8 until further notice include:
Mainstem Columbia River - From Priest Rapids Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, except bait is allowed. Floy tagged rainbow trout may be retained. There is no limit or minimum size on floy tagged rainbow trout.

Wenatchee River - From the mouth to the Icicle River Road Bridge. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.

Entiat River - Upstream from 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.
Beginning Oct. 1, the Okanogan River, from the mouth upstream to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville, will open for hatchery steelhead. The Similkameen River, from the mouth to 400 below Enloe Dam, will open Nov. 1 for hatchery steelhead. A night closure and selective gear rules will be in effect on both rivers, which will be open until further notice.

For more information on the hatchery steelhead fisheries, check the fishing rule changes on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.
 

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Still fly fishing in the PCW
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I am really glad to see that they implemented the mandatory 4 hatchery fish retention again. Last year, it was very, very effective at getting hatchery fish out of the system. Numbers I heard were something like double the hatchery fish were removed on the Methow than with optional retention the year before (and it could have been more if more people didn't 'accidentally' drop their fish back into the river). Kudos to WDFW for finding a way to keep more hatchery fish off the spawning beds while giving us a season on a system that would otherwise be closed! (If you don't understand why you have to keep these hatchery fish, then do a search on the topic and read all that was written about it last year.)

Bottom-line is if you fish these rivers, you'd better come with a cooler and be prepared to keep your hatchery fish or stay home. If I see you dump a hatchery fish back in, I'll report your butt same as if you were poaching because you will be in violation of the regs and will get ticketed if an officer sees you. If you don't want to keep 'em yourself, I'm sure orangeradish would love to give 'em to Mrs O'rad!
 

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"Ride'n Dirty."
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Wholly shit! I'm in Wenatchee on the Wenatchee and I left my stuff at home. Hmmmm.
 

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A collector never stops collecting!
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Who's going? Gotta get out there this year! Sweet!
 

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Regarding the Methow opening...With the trout fishery ongoing through September, what is to keep guys C&R steelhead and say they are fishing for trout? I realize there is some spatial separation within the fisheries (most guys fish steelhead in the lower river while the trout fishery is restricted to the middle and upper river).

Also, when it says no fishing from floating devices, you can still float the river and get out while fishing. Who actually fishes from a boat on the Methow anyway? I have never seen more than a couple guys pulling plugs. Not sure what this rule is designed to do?

While I appreciate the 4 fish limit, the numbers of total fish are not what they were last year and I believe the percentage of wild fish is higher. From a fishing standpoint, I'd rather see rules where you keep your first two hatchery fish and get off the river to make some space for others. But I understand that is not the intent of the fishery.
 

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Hot Carl
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Also, when it says no fishing from floating devices, you can still float the river and get out while fishing. Who actually fishes from a boat on the Methow anyway? I have never seen more than a couple guys pulling plugs. Not sure what this rule is designed to do?
I think this rule makes sense with the limited space on the lower river. I've heard several reports of guides rowing laps through holes where there were bank fishermen there first, and having their clients throw bobbers through the hole until they caught any fish that was in there. I personally didn't participate in this shit show last year, so I didn't see it, but I talked to a few guys who had it happen to them.

Don't worry, none of our guide buddies on this site were amongst the names I heard thrown out there

PS: I'll be along Hwy 2 selling standing rocks to fishermen passing over from the wet side to participate in this year's upper columbia circus.
 

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Still fly fishing in the PCW
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BDD, interesting point about the trout fishery. However, I wouldn't want to be caught still fishing with a 8wt once I'd retained my 4 fish.

And the 'no fishing from a floating device' wasn't just about rowing laps. This closure is specifically about people, mostly guides but not all, who came down into or rowed up into the Miller Hole, a very popular place that is often loaded with bank anglers and not just rowed laps, but sometimes anchored right in the middle of it. From what I heard, I'm surprised that their rigs were in one piece when they got back. Part of WDFW's charter is to conduct orderly fisheries and that is what they are attempting to do with this rule.

BDD, lots of people fish the Methow from a floating device, not just float hole to hole. There was actually quite a bit of discussion about closing the whole river to fishing from a floating device but it would have pissed off even more people. The Methow is a small river and if people in boats don't learn to be more respectful of bank anglers, then a total ban on fishing from a floating device may not be far off. And yes I know, bank anglers also need to understand the limitations of boats and/or their operators too; everybody just needs to get along. This is the Methow Valley, not the OP, and I will bet a lot of money that the Dept. will do whatever it takes to keep it from turning into another OP.
 
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