WDFW implemented Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement (CRSSE) Program to provide additional fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River and its tributaries. The CRSSE is required to fish for salmon or steelhead anywhere on the Columbia or its tributaries in Washington State, and costs each angler an additional $8.75 when purchasing a fishing license.
As a result of the CRSSE, the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Recreational Advisory Board was formed in September 2009 to advise WDFW and WDFW Commission on the use of money generated from the endorsement. Senate Bill 5421 directed WDFW to form the board, which currently has nine members who represent different regions of the Columbia River Basin. Members of the CRSSRAB represent boards and conservation groups including the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board, Trout Unlimited, Clark/Skamania Fly fishers, Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), and Entiat Watershed Planning.
The revenue generated from the endorsement in 2011 was an estimated $2.3 million dollars. These funds go directly to managing, monitoring, and enforcing fisheries on the Columbia River and its tributaries.
Current CRSSE Projects and Funding:
• Upper Columbia River: Biologist
• CRSSR Advisory Board: Travel/Miscellaneous costs
• Snake River: Spring Chinook Fishery Monitoring
• S.E. Washington: Supplemental Steelhead/Fall Chinook Monitoring
• Wenatchee River: Spring Chinook Creel Monitoring
• Upper Columbia River: Fisheries Monitoring
• Lower Columbia River: Summer Chinook MSF (Mark Selective Fisheries) Monitoring
• Hanford Reach: Steelhead Creel Monitoring
• Cowlitz River: Steelhead Resistance Weir Boards
CRSSE Projects implemented in 2011:
• Wenatchee River: Spring Chinook District Biologist
• Yakima River: Spring Chinook Fish Monitoring
• Columbia River: Mark Select Summer Chinook Creel Monitoring
• Klickitat River: Creel Census
• Washougal River: Winter Steelhead Creel Census
• Wind River: Summer Steelhead Hooking Mortality Study
• South Toutle: Summer Steelhead Creel Monitoring
The Wind River summer steelhead Hooking Mortality study is an excellent example of CRSSE funds being used to directly benefit wild steelhead and angling opportunities through science. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is currently implanting Passing Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags into wild steelhead through hook and line sampling at Shepard Falls fishway on the lower Wind River. The differential kelt survival rates between line caught PIT tagged fish and Shepard Falls PIT tagged fish will reveal a catch and release mortality rate that can be applied to this fishery as well as in other fisheries’ management decisions for wild steelhead.