Washington steelheaders will again have access to a coveted section of the middle Wynoochee with the opening of a new access just below the 7400 Line bridge.
The river is one of the Westside’s best for winter- and summer-runs, and for the next five years anglers will be able to put in their drift boats or roam the banks there, thanks to an agreement between WDFW and Green Diamond Resource Company, which owns the land.
“The fishing community, including the Department of Fish and Wildlife, has been working for years to create new opportunities to access this river, and this is a great place to launch,” said regional manager Larry Phillips. “The Wynoochee is one of the more popular fisheries we have, and we want everyone to enjoy it.”
Popular for catching and releasing wild steelhead as well, anglers kept over 1,200 winters and nearly 2,100 summers out of the ‘Nooch in 2016, according to state catch statistics .
That same year, WDFW proposed to purchase 15 acres alongside the river, but the project wasn’t ranked high enough to qualify for funding at the time, even though it would have helped harvest more fish.
At one time, the access was open to the public, but then it was gated with keys only available to a few.
The new put-in is at the end of a road cut to the gravel bar below the bridge and should work out for log truck traffic as well.
The agreement with the private timber company does come with a caveat, that “access is contingent on good citizenship of those who visit,” according to the agency.
“We know most anglers in our community are respectful of the resources and each other, and we are confident that boaters and other visitors will keep this new spot clean and safe,” said Phillips.
Camping, fireworks and alcohol are prohibited at the site and it’s only available for nonmotorized boats.
The access will be officially opened at 2:30 p.m. this Friday. Anglers and the public are welcomed to attend.