The UCSRB is pleased to announce the recent opening of a Wenatchee River spring Chinook fishery. With almost 10,000 hatchery spring Chinook returning to the Wenatchee River this year, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and NOAA Fisheries have decided to open up a mark-selective fishery on the river to reduce the number of excess hatchery-origin fish on the spawning grounds. By controlling the number of hatchery and natural-origin fish spawning in the wild we will be able to maximize the productivity of our habitat and hopefully get more fish to return in the future. This new tool is an important step forward in the recovery of spring Chinook in the Wenatchee and will likely be used in the future in the Methow as well. Using the sport fishery to control the number of returning hatchery fish is already being used in the region for steelhead and has proven to be effective at reducing hatchery spawners.
Starting today (Friday June 6) anglers on the Wenatchee River can catch up to two hatchery spring Chinook measuring at least 12 inches long and marked with a clipped adipose fin. All hatchery ad-clipped fish must be retained and all unclipped Chinook must immediately be released back into the water unharmed. Anglers must also release any spring Chinook with one or more round holes punched in the tail fin. These fish are vital to ongoing studies in the upper Wenatchee River Basin. Observe selective gear rules in effect on the Wenatchee River wherever Chinook seasons are open. No gear restrictions are in effect on the Icicle River, and anglers may use bait on both rivers. The fishery will be open seven days a week in two sections of the river:
- From the Washington State Parks foot bridge at Confluence Park (just upstream from the confluence with the Columbia River) to 400 feet below Dryden Dam.
- From the confluence with Peshastin Creek to the downstream side of the confluence with the Icicle River and from that point to a marker on the opposite shore
WDFW will closely monitor the fishery and enforce fishing rules to ensure protection of wild Chinook, bull trout and any steelhead that may be incidentally caught and released.