Washington State fishery managers have
declared a “night closure” for salmon and steelhead fishing effective Saturday
(Aug. 18) on a large stretch of the Columbia River and two of its tributaries
due to concerns about this year’s summer steelhead run.
Starting that day, anglers must also release
any steelhead they intercept in Drano Lake or the Wind River, where steelhead
are known to linger to escape warm water conditions in the mainstem Columbia
Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River coordinator for
the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said those measures were
prompted by lower-than-expected passage of summer steelhead at Bonneville Dam
and concerns about warmer than normal water temperatures.
Midway through the run, the count of both
hatchery and wild steelhead passing the dam is running short of the pace needed
to reach the preseason projection of 190,350 fish, he said.
“Under these circumstances, it is important
that we take some precautionary measures to protect steelhead as they move
upriver,” Lothrop said.
The move comes after rising water temperatures
and poor passage caused Oregon and Washington fishery managers last week to
shut down fishing at the mouth of the Deschutes River in Oregon and the mouth
of the Yakima River in Washington.
Oregon closed to all fishing, including catch
and release, the mouth of the Deschutes Aug. 9 in order to protect summer
steelhead that may be taking sanctuary in the cooler water provided by the
tributary of the Columbia River, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
said in a news release.
-- See CBB, Aug. 10, 2018, “Hot Water
Temperatures Prompt Oregon/Washington To Close Deschutes, Yakima River Mouths
To Fishing” http://www.cbbulletin.com/441256.aspx.
Washington’s new fishing rule will remain in
effect until further notice in the following waters:
--The Columbia River: The night closure will
be in effect from Buoy 10 near the river’s mouth upriver to the Highway 395
Bridge in Pasco.
--Drano Lake and the Wind River: The night
closure and the steelhead-fishing closure will both be in effect in Drano Lake
and from the mouth of the Wind River to 400 feet below the Shipherd Falls fish
Anglers fishing for other species such as
northern pikeminnow and walleye can continue to fish at night in Washington
Anticipating that this year’s summer steelhead
returns would be more depressed than the preseason forecast, fishery managers
took several measures to constrain fisheries before the season began. This
year’s regulations have limited anglers to one steelhead per day, and
restricted the time, area, and gear available to commercial fisheries.
For more information, see the fishing rule
changes for the Columbia River, Drano Lake, and Wind River at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/