OLYMPIA – With no end in sight to this fall's dry weather, fisheries managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are temporarily closing or altering sport fisheries on several north Olympic Peninsula rivers to protect adult fall chinook salmon from potential overharvest, and to stem illegal fishing activities.
"Fish are not migrating upstream to the spawning grounds in a normal pattern because of the extremely low water levels in many river systems," said WDFW Salmon Manager Tim Flint. Consequently, when fish mill in isolated pools, they become highly vulnerable to illegal fishing methods, including snagging.
Beginning Saturday, Oct. 19, there will be no fishing allowed on the Quillayute River, from the mouth to the confluence of the Sol Duc and Bogachiel rivers.
The Bogachiel, Calawah, Dickey, Sol Duc and Hoh rivers are also closing to chinook salmon fishing. In addition to chinook non-retention in the Hoh River, selective gear rules will also be required from the state Department of Natural Resources Oxbow Campground boat launch to the Morgan's Crossing boat launch.
After discussions with WDFW fisheries managers, Olympic National Park officials moved to close the Queets River to chinook fishing until further notice. In addition, tribal fisheries manager are continuing to assess and monitor the effect of low river flows on fisheries and salmon stocks.
Flint said state fisheries managers will continue assessing river flow levels and will determine when fisheries can safely resume. Meanwhile, anglers should be aware that additional fishing closures may be necessary if we see other problems with stream flows or illegal fishing activity, he said.