OLYMPIA – Low steelhead returns to the Marblemount Hatchery have prompted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to close a portion of the Cascade River to recreational fishing beginning Dec. 19.
The Cascade will be closed from the mouth upstream to the Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge to ensure enough steelhead make it back to the hatchery to meet spawning goals, said Bob Leland, WDFW's steelhead program manager.
That portion of the Cascade River is scheduled to re-open to recreational fishing Feb. 1, 2010. However, if spawning goals are met before then, the department could re-open the river earlier, said Leland.
“Because pre-season forecasts for steelhead returns to the Skagit River Basin are down this year, additional fishing closures to protect wild steelhead also are likely this spring,” said Leland.
Catch-and-release fisheries in the Skagit and Sauk rivers are among those fisheries that likely will not open next spring, Leland said.
WDFW will continue to monitor returns of wild steelhead, which are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, said Leland.