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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


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February 27, 1998
Contact: Chuck Bolland, (360) 902-2255

Fishing closures to protect spring chinook

OLYMPIA -- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has enacted the following emergency sport fishing regulations to protect the low number of spring chinook returning to the Columbia, Cowlitz, Kalama, and Lewis rivers:

  • Cowlitz River - Closes to salmon fishing March 1 from the mouth upstream to the barrier dam. The area will remain closed until further notice. In addition, the south side of the river from the barrier dam downstream to Mill Creek will be closed to all game fish angling April 1 - June 15. Only 1,500 spring chinook are expected to return to the Cowlitz, and 1,700 fish are needed to spawn.
  • Kalama River - Closes March 1 to salmon fishing from the mouth upstream to Kalama Falls Hatchery and will remain closed until further notice. The hatchery needs 400 spring chinook but only 500 are expected in this year's run. Approximately 250 will spawn in the river.
  • Lewis River (including north fork) - Closes March 1 to salmon fishing from the mouth upstream to Merwin Dam and will remain closed until further notice. In addition, the north fork Lewis River from Johnson Creek (located downstream from the salmon hatchery) upstream to Colvin Creek (located upstream from the salmon hatchery) will close to all game fish angling April 1 - June 15. Only 900 spring chinook are expected to enter the river. WDFW fish biologists say it takes as many as 1,600 fish to meet the hatchery spawning goal of 700 fish.
WDFW will continue to monitor spring chinook runs and make further emergency adjustments as needed. At a recent meeting of WDFW and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, emergency regulations to protect the low numbers of Columbia River spring chinook also were adopted. The Columbia River from its mouth upstream to the Interstate-5 bridge will close to salmon fishing March 11. At the same time, steelhead and shad fishing will close in the Columbia from the mouth upstream to Bonneville Dam.