Salmon limits raised, sockeye fishery opens

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Salmon fishing is heating up on the upper Columbia River.

The dates of the season include: from Priest Rapids Dam to 400 feet below Rock Island Dam, July 7 through Aug. 31, 2016; from Rock Island Dam to 400 feet below Wells Dam, July 7 through Oct. 15, 2016; from Wells dam to Hwy 173 bridge in Brewster, July 16 through Aug. 31, 2016 and from Hwy 173 bridge in Brewster to Chief Joseph Dam, July 7 through Oct.15, 2016.

Limits: Daily limit of six salmon, of which two may be adult hatchery chinook and three may be sockeye. Coho and wild adult chinook salmon must be released.

Other information: Release all floy (spaghetti) tagged fish. Anglers must also use barbless hooks when fishing for salmon and have a current Washington fishing license, as well as a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement. Anglers with the Two-Pole Endorsement may fish with two poles, except for sturgeon above Rock Island Dam.

Reason for the changes: The sockeye run was recently upgraded to 350,000 fish, greatly exceeding the pre-season forecast of 102,000 fish returning to the river mouth. Barring extreme high water temperatures such as those in 2015 that caused unprecedented pre-spawning mortality, the run is expected to produce sufficient escapement to meet spawning needs in the Wenatchee and Okanogan Rivers.

Raffle hunt permit deadline approaching

The raffle hunt permit deadline is July 15.

Workshop offers women fishing, hunting and outdoor skills

Women can learn the basics of fishing, hunting, and other outdoor skills in a September weekend workshop that includes sessions led by Fish and Wildlife and other instructors.

Scheduled for Sept.16-18 at Camp Waskowitz in North Bend, the annual workshop is presented and coordinated by Washington Outdoor Women, a non-profit program dedicated to teaching women outdoor skills and natural resource stewardship. WOW, now in its 19th year, is an educational outreach program of the Washington Wildlife Federation.

Experienced instructors will teach 21 classes throughout the weekend on skills such as archery, basic freshwater fishing, fly-fishing and fly-tying, big-game hunting basics, map and compass reading, survival, beekeeping, birding, Dutch oven cooking, backpacking, duck hunting, wildlife awareness, wilderness first aid, and more.

Several Fish and Wildlife staff members serve as volunteer instructors for the event, including biologist Stacy Kelsey teaching “Basic Freshwater Fishing,” biologist Laura Till teaching “Map and Compass,” and biologist Shelly Ament teaching “Wildlife Awareness and Tracking.” In all, 28 instructors volunteer their time and expertise at this workshop to help women confidently connect with the outdoors.

Workshop participants must be at least 18 years old and must have a current Washington recreational fishing license to participate in the fly-fishing and basic freshwater fishing sessions.

Contact Ronni McGlenn at (425) 455-1986 or Laura Till at (360) 902-2352.

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