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February 06, 2004
Contact: Bob Leland, (360) 902-2817

Anticipated low steelhead return leads to early closure of Green River fisheries

OLYMPIA - State and tribal fisheries managers are closing the Green River to all fishing because of anticipated low returns of both hatchery and wild steelhead.

The river will close to all sport fishing beginning Feb. 16.

Although projected to return at higher levels than last year, this year's wild winter steelhead run is potentially the fifth in a row to come in below the co-managers' escapement goal of 2,000 fish.

"State and tribal fisheries managers have reviewed the steelhead run size data, and we agree that the wild steelhead stock on the Green River needs additional protection," said Phil Anderson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife special assistant to the director.

The lower Duwamish/Green River was scheduled to close to sport fishing for steelhead Feb. 29, while the middle and upper stretches of the river were scheduled to close March 15. Commercial tribal fisheries were closed on Dec. 22, 2003, more than a month earlier than scheduled, after the in-season update for the hatchery run showed a very low return.