VANCOUVERó Smelt fishing, which was closed in December on Columbia River tributaries, will re-open two days a week in January and early February, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced.
Smelt dipping will be allowed Wednesdays and Saturdays from the first of the year through Feb. 13 on all Columbia River tributaries.
Smelt fishing restrictions, which included a complete closure of the fishery in December, are needed because the smelt return to the Columbia River is expected to be poor. Smelt runs have been faltering in the region since 1993. The minor fishing opportunity is expected to provide additional information on the status of the 1999 run size.
Affected areas include the Cowlitz, Kalama, Lewis, Grays and Elochoman rivers, Skamokawa Creek, and other small creeks or streams that flow into the Columbia.