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WSC Pushes for Barbless Hooks on the Lower Columbia

Category: WSC Updates | Posted by: natasha | 12/18/10 | Comments: 0

Summary: The WSC was concerned by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife going against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s policy to make the Columbia River barbless hook only to decrease mortality on ESA listed species. The WSC reminded ODFW that this regulation was aimed at benefitting the 12 ESA listed Salmonid species inhabiting the Columbia river.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission has put aside the best science available regarding barbed hook mortality and has adopted the use of barbed hooks on the Lower Columbia River. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife had implemented barbless hook regulations on the lower Columbia but was forced to change the regulations to voluntary based on the conflicting regulations between Oregon and Washington anglers. Oregon and Washington have worked in cooperation together for nearly 100 years to create non-conflicting regulations and policies regarding the Columbia River fishery. However, Oregon negates this hard work and interstate alliance by refusing to adopt a set of regulations to help reduce fish mortality on ESA-listed Columbia River salmon and steelhead.

The WSC was discouraged by the use of barbed hooks that negatively impact Washington, Oregon and Idaho’s ESA listed fish and sent a letter requesting that ODFW Commission reevaluate it’s stance on the use of barbless hooks on the Lower Columbia.

Depending on length, you could use either list.

The Columbia river currently has 12 ESA listed runs of Steelhead, Chinook, Coho, Chum, Sockeye, and Bull Trout.

The proposed regulation change will help increase the survival rate of these wild listed species:

  • Lower Columbia River Bull Trout (Threatened)
  • Snake River Basin Steelhead (Threatened)
  • Lower Columbia River Steelhead (Threatened)
  • Middle Columbia River Steelhead (Threatened)
  • Upper Columbia River Steelhead (Threatened)
  • Upper Columbia Spring Run Chinook (Endangered)
  • Snake River Spring/Summer/Fall Run Chinook (Threatened)
  • Lower Columbia Coho (Threatened)
  • Snake River Sockeye (Endangered)
  • Columbia River Chum (Threatened)
  • Upper Willamette River Steelhead (Threatened)
  • Upper Willamette River Chinook (Threatened)


The WSC will continue to work hard on behalf of Columbia Steelhead and hopes that the ODFW Commission looks at the science regarding barbed hooks and adopts a barbless hook regulation for the jointly used lower Columbia river.

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