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North Central Washington Sponsored by
Date 02-Jul-16
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Conditions : North Central Washington: Salmon: [Updated July 7] The sockeye salmon season opened on July 7 with a 3-sockeye daily limit. The total salmon limit also increased that day from 4 to 6 salmon, including up to 2 hatchery adult chinook and up to 3 sockeye. Anglers can retain hatchery or wild chinook jacks under that limit, but must release adult wild chinook during the summer chinook that opened July 1.

The new rules apply to salmon fisheries on the mainstem Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam up to Wells Dam, and from Brewster to Chief Joseph Dam. Starting July 16, those rules also apply to the section of the mainstem Columbia River from Wells Dam to the Highway 173 Bridge at Brewster when those waters open to salmon fishing

The Okanogan River, a tributary of the Columbia, which also opened on July 1 is not affected by the rule change.

"To our relief and surprise, the sockeye run has exceeded our expectations," said Jeff Korth, WDFW regional salmon manager, noting the heavy losses of sockeye during last year's drought. "Sufficient numbers of sockeye will return to spawn this year, and also to provide sockeye for a recreational fishery in the Columbia River." The sockeye fishery in Lake Wenatchee will also open later in July when sufficient fish arrive at the lake.

WDFW Chelan District fish biologist Travis Maitland said the spring chinook salmon fishery on the Icicle River that opened in May "until further notice" is likely to continue through July. Two hatchery chinook salmon (marked by a missing adipose fin) adult or jack measuring at least 12 inches is the daily catch limit

Sturgeon: Beginning July 1, anglers can harvest hatchery white sturgeon from Wanapum and Priest Rapids reservoirs on the Columbia River – for the first time in decades.

From July 1 through Sept. 30, anglers can retain two hatchery sturgeon measuring between 38 and 72 inches (fork-length) daily from Wanapum and Priest Rapids reservoirs. The size restriction will target hatchery sturgeon and protect larger wild sturgeon.

Sturgeon caught in these reservoirs will not count toward an angler's annual limit for sturgeon, and anglers are not required to record sturgeon harvested from the two reservoirs on their catch record cards. Angler participation and success, which will be monitored by creel checkers, will determine whether the fishery is extended beyond its scheduled closing date of Sept. 30.

Warmwater/mixed species: Moses Lake and Potholes Reservoir in Grant County can be good for largemouth and smallmouth bass and walleye this month. Banks Lake, the Columbia River reservoir between Coulee City and Electric City, also offers good fishing for bass, plus opportunities for yellow perch, walleye, and rainbow trout.

Many Okanogan County waters offer promising fishing this month if temperatures don't rise too quickly. Palmer Lake, north of Loomis, should be good for yellow perch and smallmouth and largemouth bass at this time. There are also lots of warmwater fish species, including big bluegill, to be caught at Spectacle Lake, southwest of Tonasket.

Both Conconully Lake and Reservoir are usually good for catches of kokanee, rainbow trout and largemouth bass. Bonaparte Lake, on the Okanogan National Forest northeast of Tonasket, has kokanee and smallmouth bass. Just east of Bonaparte, Beth, Little Beaver and Beaver lakes produce rainbow trout. These lakes also are near Okanogan National Forest campgrounds. Blue Lake on Limebelt Road near Omak has both rainbow and eastern brook trout.

Fire precautions: With the summer recreation season now in full swing, WDFW and other public landowners are urging campers, anglers, and others visiting the lands they manage to take precautions against sparking a wildfire.

Effective July 1, the department will restrict campfires and other activities on lands WDFW manages in areas east of the Cascade Range. Those restrictions on activities ranging from smoking to off-road driving are outlined in a news release issued by the department in late June.

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