WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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January 31, 1997
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360)902-2256

Small chinook runs limit angling in Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis rivers

VANCOUVER -- Sport fishing on the Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis rivers will be limited this spring to protect the small number of spring chinook salmon expected to return to spawn.

Department forecasts predict the chinook returns to the rivers will be at record lows.

Following a public meeting to discuss options, the department has set the following seasons:

  • Cowlitz River -- Closes to salmon fishing March 1 from the mouth to the Barrier Dam. In addition, the south side of the river from Mill Creek to the Barrier Dam will close to all game fish angling from April 1 through June 15. Only 1,400 spring chinook are expected to return when a minimum of 2,000 are needed to spawn.
  • Kalama River -- Closes to salmon angling March 1 from the mouth to the Kalama Falls Hatchery. The salmon hatchery needs 450 spring chinook to return to spawn and only 700 are expected in this year's run, with about half spawning in the river.
  • Lewis River -- Closes to salmon angling on April 16 from Johnson Creek (located below the salmon hatchery) upstream to Merwin Dam. The lower 15 miles of the Lewis River upstream to Johnson Creek will remain open to salmon angling from April 16 to July 31 with a one-fish daily limit. The river from Johnson Creek upstream to Colvin Creek (located upstream from the salmon hatchery) will close to all game fish angling April 16 through June 15. The river is expected to have a small harvestable surplus of chinook. The river's hatchery needs 700 fish and 2,400 chinook are expected to return.
The department will monitor the runs and may make further emergency adjustments in the season.

As previously announced, the Columbia River, from the mouth to the Interstate 5 bridge, will close to salmon angling March 11. At the same time, steelhead and shad angling will close in the Columbia from the mouth upstream to Bonneville Dam.

Salmon angling upstream of the I-5 bridge closed Jan. 1.