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 Jan. 17.
The Cascade will be closed until further notice from the mouth upstream to Rockport-Cascade Road to ensure enough steelhead make it back to the hatchery to meet spawning goals, said Bob Leland, WDFW's steelhead program manager.
“Both hatchery and wild steelhead returns to the Skagit River basin are down this year,” said Leland. “This closure will help the Marblemount Hatchery meet its broodstock needs, but additional fishing closures in the basin also are likely this spring to protect wild steelhead.”
Catch-and-release fisheries in the Skagit and Sauk rivers are among those fisheries that could close, Leland said.
WDFW will continue to monitor returns of wild steelhead, which are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, to determine when emergency closures could take effect, said Leland.