Sections of Snake River remain closed to steelhead fishing

Snake River

Photo Credit: Courtesy of WDFW

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Action: Steelhead fishing remains closed throughout lower Snake River; anglers may retain 1 hatchery steelhead upstream of the Couse Creek Boat Ramp.

Effective date: Jan. 1 through March 31, 2020.

Species affected: Steelhead.      

Locations and rules:  

Regulatory Reach 1 - From the mouth of the Snake River (Burbank to Pasco railroad bridge at Snake River mile 1.25) to the Couse Creek Boat Ramp:

  • Closed to fishing for and retention of Steelhead.

Regulatory Reach 2 – From Couse Creek Boat Ramp upstream to the Idaho/Oregon state line:

  • Daily limit 1 hatchery steelhead. Anglers may not continue to fish for steelhead after the steelhead daily limit has been retained.

Reason for action

Regulatory Reach 1 will remain closed to fishing for salmon and steelhead until March 31, 2020. WDFW has reviewed the adult run size for both A- and B-run summer steelhead passing Ice Harbor Dam and has two conservation concerns within this regulatory reach:

  1. Asotin Creek Steelhead: Asotin Creek has a wild population of steelhead that is predicted to have very low returns this year (fewer than 200 adult fish). Any additional fishing between Clarkston and Couse Creek could have negative impacts on this population.
  2. Snake River B-run Steelhead: Conservation measures have been in place since July to protect natural and hatchery B-run steelhead in the Columbia River, and since September in the Snake River. WDFW believes it is important to provide continued protection for these fish within the Columbia and Snake rivers to maximize survival and return of both wild- and hatchery-origin B-run steelhead.

Regulatory Reach 2 will remain open to steelhead angling under a one-fish daily limit. This portion of the river has adequate wild and hatchery A-run steelhead present to allow for limited angling opportunity. There are very few B-run steelhead present in this reach of the river, resulting in very little conservation risk to these steelhead under this limited fishery. WDFW is confident that implementing this rule will provide for adequate survival of wild and hatchery steelhead to help to ensure that escapements are met in all hatcheries and wild population groups within the Snake River basin.

Additional information:  In Regulatory Reach 2, where steelhead fishing remains open, all steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must be immediately released unharmed.  In addition, anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing for steelhead and must stop fishing for steelhead once the daily limit has been retained. Anglers cannot remove steelhead from the water if it is not retained as part of the daily bag limit. Anglers are reminded to refer to the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other regulations, including possession limits, safety closures, etc. 

Please continue to check emergency rules if you are planning to fish for steelhead within the affected area.

Information contact: Jeremy Trump, District 3 Fish Biologist 509-382-1005.

More Reports

Columbia River upstream of McNary Dam remains closed to steelhead fishing
Columbia River

Effective dates and locations: Jan. 1 through March 31, 2020, from McNary Dam upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge (Pasco/Kennewick). Jan. 1...... Read More

Get outside this holiday season

Despite the winter chill, Washingtonians have plenty of reasons to head outdoors during the holidays. Seasonal fisheries are underway throughout...... Read More