Three more rivers on the north coast of the Olympic Peninsula will close to sport fishing at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday (Oct. 29) to protect salmon that have been prevented from moving upstream to spawn by extreme low-water conditions.
Sport fishing closures on the Hoh and Clearwater rivers were announced today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), as the Hoh Tribe suspended its own fishery on the Hoh River.
The Olympic National Park, which regulates fisheries within park boundaries, also announced that sport fishing on the Queets River would close early Tuesday morning along with the Hoh and the Clearwater.
All of those actions follow an agreement last week between WDFW and the Quileute Tribe to suspend all fishing on the Quillayute River system until water levels in the river allow salmon to pass upstream to the spawning grounds. In addition to the Quillayute River, that system includes the Bogachiel, Calawah, Dickey and Sol Duc rivers.
"I'm pleased that our partners in salmon management have joined with us in taking steps to protect migrating fish while they're in this vulnerable condition," said Jeff Koenings, WDFW director. "If these dry conditions persist, anglers should be watching for potential emergency actions in other areas to protect Northwest salmon runs."
Mary Kay Leitka, Hoh tribal chair, said Hoh fishers agreed last week to restrict their fishery on the Hoh River to one day per week, but have since decided to suspend all tribal fishing until stream levels rise.
"We have to look out for future salmon returns," said Leitka. "We have a good relationship with other fisheries managers and we feel it's important to work together for the resource."
Bill Freymond, WDFW biologist, said measurements taken today showed that streamflow on the Hoh River was 245 cubic feet per second (cfs), compared to 2,000 cfs at this time during an average year. On the Clearwater River, streamflow was measured at 421 cfs compared to 4,000 cfs during an average year.
"These are extremely low-flow conditions," Freymond said. "Suspending fishing will provide some protection for the fish, but what they really need is a good hard rain."