Several steelhead and whitefish fisheries will close Saturday one hour after sunset, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Steelhead season on the Columbia River will end from Wells Dam to the Highway 173 bridge at Brewster and on the Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat and Methow rivers.
Whitefish fisheries opening Saturday will also close one hour after sunset on the Wenatchee and Entiat rivers, and on the Methow River downstream from the confluence with the Chewuch River.
Steelhead and whitefish fisheries will remain open until further notice on the Columbia from Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam and from the Highway 173 bridge in Brewster to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.
WDFW regional fish manager Jeff Korth said the closure will keep impacts on wild steelhead within the limits established under the federal Endagered Species Act.
“This year’s run is smaller than in recent years and contains a relatively high proportion of wild steelhead,” Korth said. “Those factors, combined with steady angler effort, increased the rate of encounters with natural-origin fish in some fishing areas this year.”
Anglers who catch unmarked wild steelhead are required to release them, but not all released fish survive, and those casualties are counted toward the ESA impact limits.
Night closures and all other regulations remain in effect for areas where steelhead season is still open.