The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has announced its regulations for the state's 2023-2024 coastal steelhead fishing season.

Fishing regulations followed an extensive process that included extensive public engagement. WDFW states that it is continuing to operate under the Statewide Steelhead Management Plan, which mandates "the Department to prioritize the sustainability of wild coastal steelhead runs by focusing on healthy levels of abundance, productivity, diversity, and distribution."

Fishing schedule runs from December 1, 2023 through March 31, 2024

Selective gear rules and single point barbless hooks will be required on all systems open to fishing. These include the Quillayute River System, Hoh River, and Willapa Bay River System (where select tributaries will close February 28). The Quinault Indian Nation and WDFW are still in discussions for fishery plans in Grays Harbor.

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The bag limit is two hatchery steelhead in waters open to fishing. All wild steelhead and rainbow trout must be released. Additional Emergency Fishing Rule Changes may be announced throughout the season.

James Losee, WDFW Coastal Region fish program manager, stated:

With a focus on the long-term decline of coastal steelhead, especially in the Queets and Quinault watersheds, the Region 6 team has designed recreational fishery regulations that support WDFW’s conservation goals while integrating what we’ve heard from the public. With this in mind, we are implementing a one-year study in the Hoh River to determine the wild steelhead impacts from fishing from a floating device to better inform future rule making.

 

A coastal steelhead fish being held partially above water in a fishery.
WDFW / Chase Gunnell
loading...

Quillayute River System Rules

Fishing from a floating device will be allowed in the mainstem Quillayute, downstream of the concrete pump station at the Sol Duc Hatchery, below the Highway 101 bridge on the Calawah River, and downstream of the mouth of Mill Creek on the Bogachiel River (approximately 3/4 mile above the Bogachiel Hatchery).

Hoh River Rules

Fishing from a floating device will be allowed Sunday through Tuesday only from the Morgan’s Crossing boat launch downstream to the Washington Department of Natural Resources Hoh Oxbow Campground boat launch, and Wednesday through Saturday only from the Hoh Oxbow boat launch downstream to the Olympic National Park boundary near the mouth.

Willapa Bay Rules

Fishing from a floating device will be allowed in rivers that flow into Willapa Bay throughout the scheduled season (Dec. 1 through March 31).

Other Steelhead Areas

Queets, Salmon and Quinault Rivers have been closed to recreational fishing due to declining populations of wild steelhead.

 

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