Ok...are you sitting down to read this? I mean seriously, you may pass out. We've only waited an eternity for this to occur. Are you ready? Here we go.
The Wenatchee, Okanogan, Methow and Entiat Rivers are all open to fishing for steelhead as of right....meow! I mean I know everyone is excited about the Methow reopening oh, like 72 hours after they closed it (Good idea there WDFW), but I've wanted to steelhead on the Wenatchee since I moved to Cle Elum and had to drive by it for basketball, football, and baseball games in Cashmere and Leavenworth. Time to call in sick to work...err...I probably shouldn't have posted that here.
Here is the rule posting straight from the WDFW site.
September 28, 2009
Upper Columbia, several other rivers to open for hatchery steelhead fishing
Actions: Open the Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam, including the Wenatchee, Entiat, Methow, and Okanogan Rivers, September 29, 2009, and Similkameen River, November 1, 2009, to fishing for adipose-fin clipped hatchery-origin steelhead until further notice.
The daily limit will be four (4) adipose fin-clipped, hatchery-origin steelhead, 20-inch minimum size, per day.
Mandatory retention of adipose fin-clipped hatchery origin steelhead.
Selective gear rules apply with various exceptions in some areas (see below)
A night closure is in effect for all waters for the duration of the fishery
Current salmon and all other game fish gear rules do not apply during steelhead season
Release any steelhead with one or more round holes punched in the caudal (tail) fin.
1) The mainstem Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam. September 29, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and Selective Gear Rules apply, except motorized vessels and bait are allowed. Release all coho and after October 15, mandatory release of all salmon.
2) The Wenatchee River mouth to the sign about 800 feet below the most downstream side of Tumwater Dam. September 29, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and selective gear rules apply. Release all salmon.
3) Icicle River, from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam. September 29, 2009 - November 15, 2009. Three coho, minimum size 12 inches, may be retained daily. Release all floy-tagged coho.
4) The Entiat River upstream from the Alternate Highway 97 Bridge near the mouth of the Entiat River to 800 feet downstream of the Entiat National Fish Hatchery outfall. September 29, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, except motorized vessels are allowed. Release all salmon.
5) The Methow River from the Hwy. 97 Bridge in Pateros upstream to the second powerline crossing, and from the first Hwy. 153 Bridge north of Pateros to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop, WA. CLOSED WATERS FROM SECOND POWERLINE CROSSING UPSTREAM TO THE FIRST HWY 153 BRIDGE. September 29, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, except motorized vessels are allowed. Whitefish gear rules do not apply. Release all salmon.
6) The Okanogan River: CLOSED WATERS from the Lake Osoyoos Control Dam (Zosel Dam) downstream to the first Hwy 97 Bridge below Oroville Washington. September 29, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, except motorized vessels are allowed.
7) The Similkameen River, from its mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam. November 1, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.
Species affected: steelhead
Other information: Anglers are required to release all ad-present steelhead. Any steelhead caught with an intact adipose fin may not be totally removed from the water and must be released immediately. For all waters, mandatory release of all salmon unless otherwise noted above.
Reason for action: The fishery will reduce the number of excess hatchery-origin steelhead and consequently increase the proportion of natural-origin steelhead on the spawning grounds. Higher proportions of naturally produced spawners are expected to improve genetic integrity and stock recruitment of upper Columbia River steelhead through perpetuation of steelhead stocks with the greatest natural-origin lineage.