600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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January 30, 1998
Contact: Chuck Bolland, (360) 902-2255

Columbia River tributary sport smelt fishery to close Monday

OLYMPIA -- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will close all sport smelt fisheries on Columbia River tributaries at 12:01 a.m. Feb. 2.

All commercial fisheries for smelt already have been closed on the same waters. Both the sport and commercial fisheries will remain closed until further notice.

The action was taken by the Columbia River Compact agencies of Washington and Oregon because of the low numbers of smelt observed so far this year in the Cowlitz River and other Columbia river tributaries. WDFW fish biologists believe poor ocean conditions have contributed to the low returns.

Smelt fishing on the mainstem of the Columbia River, for both recreational and commercial fishers, will remain open until Feb. 13. Commercial smelt fishing is limited to Mondays and Fridays, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The compact will meet again on Feb. 11 to review catches on the Columbia River and re-evaluate the scheduled closing date.