VANCOUVER—All tributaries to the Columbia River will close to sport smelt fishing at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 1, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.
The rivers are being closed because smelt runs have been poor since 1993. This year's run also is expected to be poor.
The rivers also will be closed to commercial smelt fishing.
Rivers closed to smelt fishing on Dec. 1 include: the Cowlitz, Kalama, Lewis, Grays and Elochoman rivers and Skamokawa Creek as well as any other small creeks or streams that flow into the Columbia.
The Columbia River Compact, the Washington-Oregon forum that manages fisheries in the mainstem Columbia, will meet on Dec. 17 to consider smelt fishing opportunities. Based on decisions made at that meeting, a limited smelt fishery may open on the Cowlitz to gather run-size information.