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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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November 26, 1997
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360) 902-2256

Emergency closures protect steelhead in Humptulips River and Chehalis Basin

OLYMPIA --The Humptulips River and its tributaries upstream of Highway 101 have been closed to all fishing until further notice to protect a critically low return of wild winter steelhead, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

In addition, the department is requiring fishers to release wild steelhead in the Humptulips below Highway 101 and in several Chehalis Basin rivers.

The emergency action was taken because it appears the wild steelhead run may about half the size needed to meet Humptulips spawning goals. The number of wild winter steelhead that spawned in the Humptulips system last season was the lowest on record.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 1 and until further notice, wild steelhead must be released in the open areas of the following waters:

  • Humptulips River, below Highway 101
  • Stevens Creek, from the mouth to the Highway 101 bridge
  • Hoquiam River and all its forks
  • Wishkah River, from the mouth to Cedar Creek
  • Wynoochee River, from the mouth to the 7400 line bridge upstream of Schafer Creek
  • Cloquallum Creek, from the mouth to the second bridge on Cloquallum Road
  • Johns River, including all forks, from the mouth upstream
  • Elk River, upstream from the Highway 105 bridge
WDFW biologists said the regulations are necessary because the runs of wild winter steelhead in the Humptulips River system are dropping at an alarming rate. This year's run is expected to be from 50 to 75 percent below the department's spawning goal.

WDFW is working with the Quinault Indian Nation to develop fishing plans that emphasize the harvest of hatchery steelhead while allowing wild fish to reach the spawning gravel.

WDWF developed its emergency steelhead conservation regulations after a public meeting in Montesano in which fishers and other interested persons provided numerous recommendations.

Wild steelhead release regulations also remain in effect for the 1997-98 season on the Satsop, Skookumchuck, Newaukum, Chehalis rivers as well as the Chehalis' south fork.

Anglers can recognize wild steelhead because they have adipose fins (a small fin on the back forward of the tail). Adipose fins have been removed from hatchery steelhead.