OLYMPIA – Easton Ponds 1 and 2 off Interstate 90 in Kittitas County will be closed to fishing until June 10 as part of an effort to reintroduce coho salmon in the Yakima River basin.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in conjunction with the Yakama Nation will use the two ponds to acclimate 250,000 coho smolts, which will then have direct access to the Yakima River.
The ponds will be closed to fishing from March 23 through June 9 during the acclimation process, but will reopen June 10 for a "free fishing weekend." Easton Pond 3 will not be involved in acclimating the smolts and will remain open during the closure of Ponds 1 and 2.
Jeff Haymes, a WDFW salmon biologist, said the Yakima River once had the largest coho salmon population of all the mid-Columbia River tributaries, before it disappeared in the early 1900s.
"Reestablishing coho salmon in this drainage would restore these salmon to part of their historical range," he said.