Snake River steelhead fishery change

Snake River

Photo Credit: Courtesy of WDFW

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Action: Reduces daily steelhead limits on the Snake River.

Effective date: Jan. 1 through March 31, 2021.

Species affected: Steelhead.      

Locations and daily limits:  

Regulatory reach 1 - From the mouth of the Snake River (Burbank to Pasco railroad bridge at Snake River mile 1.25) to Lower Granite Dam:

  • Daily limit 1 hatchery steelhead.

Regulatory Reach 2 – From Lower Granite Dam upstream to the Idaho/Oregon state line:

  • Daily limit 2 hatchery steelhead.

Reason for action:  Through Oct. 22, the Columbia River return of upriver steelhead is at 107,341 with an updated run forecast of 109,500 (77,200 Group A and 32,300 Group B). This is an overall increase within the steelhead return from the preseason forecast of 95,500 (85,900 Group A and 9,600 Group B). The revised forecast includes a decrease to Group A steelhead and large increase in Group B steelhead. While the overall run is generally tracking at or above forecast, WDFW has concerns with tributary stocks (Group A), particularly the Tucannon and Touchet River stocks, thus necessitating lower limits in the mainstem Snake River downstream of the Lower Granite Dam. 

Additional information: 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 should be sure to identify their catch and know regulations for other salmonid species that are in the areas. Anglers cannot remove any Chinook, coho or steelhead from the water if it is not retained as part of the daily bag limit. Anglers are reminded to refer to the 2020-21 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other regulations, including possession limits, safety closures, etc. 

WDFW will continue to monitor the steelhead run, and if additional conservation measures are needed to curtail the harvest fishery or additional harvest opportunity can be offered without negatively impacting wild or hatchery steelhead abundances, seasons and harvest rules may be adjusted in coming months. 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.