fishing Starting New Year’s Day, anglers on a large stretch of the Columbia River will be required to use barbless hooks when fishing for salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout.
The rule, issued Thursday by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, affects sport fisheries from the mouth of the Columbia River — including the north jetty — upstream to the state border with Oregon 17 miles upstream from McNary Dam.
Under the rule, anglers may still use single-point, double-point or treble hooks in that stretch of river, as long as the barbs have been filed off or pinched down.
Washington fishery managers said the need for the rule was to make the state’s fishing regulations consistent with those in Oregon. That state’s fish and wildlife commission recently approved a broad-based measure that prohibits Oregon license holders from using barbed hooks on the Columbia River starting Jan. 1.
As a conservation tool, barbless hooks are easier to remove than barbed hooks, reducing the likelihood of killing or injuring the fish.
“That’s especially important on the Columbia River, where anglers are required to release fish from a number of protected runs unharmed,” Guy Norman, southwest region director, said in a prepared statement.
The state Fish and Wildlife Commission, which sets policy for the department, is scheduled to take action next month on the new draft policy that includes a ban on barbed hooks and a variety of other management changes.