April 26, 2002
Contact: Craig Burley (360) 906-6711
Opening day fishing and access altered following Lewis Power Canal collapse
VANCOUVER, Wash.- Anglers headed out for the opening day of fishing Saturday in southwest Washington will encounter some closures and access changes resulting from last Sunday's failure of the Lewis River Power Canal near Cougar.
Besides changes to fishing opportunity, anglers and others traveling in the area should check Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) traveler information (phone 800-695-ROAD or access on the Internet) for the latest information on State Route 503. A section of that highway was washed out by the canal failure.
Fishing opportunities affected by the canal collapse include:
- Swift Creek Reservoir – opens for fishing Saturday as scheduled, from the dam to markers approximately three-eights of a mile below Eagle Creek Bridge, but accessibility may be limited. The Washington State Department of Transportation said it planned to have one lane of the State Route 503 Spur east of the town of Cougar open to traffic by the end of the day on Friday, April 26.
- Lewis River Power Canal – closed to fishing following the canal's collapse and subsequent water loss. The old Lewis River streambed adjacent the canal site also is closed to fishing. Some 1,000 large trout planted in the canal last week in anticipation of the opener were washed away in the canal failure. Meanwhile, federal and state fish managers are working this week to rescue federally protected threatened bull trout stranded in shallow pools after the canal's collapse.
- Yale Reservoir – All public day-use and boating access sites are closed through May 6, to facilitate cleanup of an oil spill and repair of State Route 503, both a result of the washout of Swift Dam Number Two.
- Merwin (Lake) Reservoir – remains open to year-round fishing, but low water levels are expected to make boat launching difficult.
In addition to noting closures and access changes in the area, anglers are advised to check the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) "Fishing In Washington" rules pamphlet and regulation changes, accessible on-line at /fishing/regulations.