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February 24, 1997
Contact: Chuck Bolland, (360) 902-2255

Columbia River Compact closes commercial smelt season today, recreational season to close Friday

OLYMPIA -- The commercial smelt fishery on the mainstem of the Columbia River will end at 11:59 p.m. today.

The decision was made today by the Washington and Oregon departments of Fish and Wildlife. The two agencies met via telephone as the Columbia River Compact.

The compact also decided to close the recreational smelt fishery at 11:59 p.m. Friday. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has determined that the smelt season also will close Friday on all Washington tributary waters.

The tributary commercial fishery closes tonight.

Today's action by the compact was taken because of low smelt numbers found in a recent test fishery. According to biologists, smelt numbers have been poor since 1993. It is believed that ocean conditions have been responsible for the poor smelt runs.