MONTESANO – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is reminding anglers that fishing is closed on two northern Olympic Peninsula rivers – the Dungeness and the Graywolf – to protect depleted salmon stocks.
As noted in the WDFW Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, the Dungeness River is closed from the river mouth to Gold Creek until Oct. 16. The Graywolf is closed year- round from the mouth to the bridge, located approximately one mile upstream.
Even so, a team of WDFW biologists and technicians that has been surveying salmon stocks in those rivers since late July has encountered illegal fishing activity on nearly every survey, said Bill Freymond, WDFW district fish biologist.
"It's disturbing when we're working to bring these stocks back and we run into someone standing there in closed waters with a fishing pole in hand," said Freymond, noting that the violations have been reported to WDFW enforcement. "Anglers have a responsibility to know the regulations before they drop their line in the water."
Signs are being posted along both rivers this week informing people they are closed to fishing, Freymond said.
The closures on both rivers are designed to protect native spring/summer chinook salmon and summer and fall pink salmon, Freymond said. The chinook stock is listed as "threatened" under the federal Endangered Species Act, while the pink runs are listed as "depressed" and "critical," respectively, by the state.
Anglers found fishing in closed areas of the Dungeness and Graywolf rivers risk being cited under both state and federal law.
"We need to let these fish spawn so the runs can rebuild and provide harvestable fish in the future," Freymond said.