Fish Program Manager of Region 5, Cindy Lafleur said the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission is enforcing the rule for the safety of the salmon and steelhead population. While the Snake River has always enforced the rule of barbless hooks, fishermen traveling along the Columbia River tributaries need to keep in mind the rule starts May 1st.
"It's going to be easier to release fish from a barbless hook versus a barbed hook," said LeFleur. "And most of our salmon and steelhead population in the Columbia River are listed on the Endangered Species Act."
Anglers can only keep fish that are harvested from fish hatcheries to protect the wild species.