OLYMPIA -- Some sports fishing restrictions for fall chinook and hatchery steelhead will be lifted Monday on several Columbia River tributaries, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced.
The expanded chinook fishing opportunities are on the Kalama, Washougal, Elochoman and Grays rivers. Restrictions are being lifted for the rivers because some fall chinook runs appear to be stronger than anticipated and because hatchery production goals are being reduced in anticipation of cuts in federal fiscal support.
Anglers also will be able to keep hatchery steelhead on the lower Kalama and Washougal rivers as of Monday.
Here are the regulation changes on a river-by-river basis:
Kalama River -- open for salmon and game fish (including steelhead) from the boundary markers at the mouth upstream to a point 1,000 feet below the upper salmon hatchery. No fishing is allowed from 200 feet upstream of the Modrow Bridge to the markers 1,500 below it because a department fish trap is being installed. Only fly fishing is permitted from the natural gas pipeline upstream to the deadline at the intake to the lower salmon hatchery through Oct. 31. Release all chinook over 28 inches caught beginning Oct. 1 between the natural gas pipeline upstream to the upper salmon hatchery.
Washougal River -- open for salmon and game fish (including steelhead) angling from the mouth to the Salmon Falls Bridge. Release all chinook over 28 inches caught beginning Oct. 1 upstream from the Little Washougal River.
Elochoman River -- open for salmon and game fish angling from the mouth upstream to the west fork. Salmon angling will be open through Dec. 31. The area from the department's temporary fish trap to the Foster (Risk) Road Bridge is closed to all fishing while the trap is being installed. Several permanent salmon sanctuary areas below the Elochoman Salmon Hatchery remain closed. Check the Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for details. Release all chinook over 28 inches caught beginning Oct. 1 upstream from the Foster (Risk) Road Bridge.
Grays River -- open to salmon and hatchery steelhead fishing from the mouth to the south fork. All chum salmon must be released. Grays River will remain open to salmon angling through Oct. 31. Release all chinook over 28 inches caught beginning Oct. 1 upstream from the Covered Bridge. The west fork of the Grays River is closed to angling.
The daily bag limit on all streams is six salmon, of which only two may be adults. Chinook adults are at least 24 inches in length, coho adults are over 20 inches.
Anglers may not fish at night or use non-buoyant lures on the Kalama (from the mouth to 200 feet above the temporary trap) and Washougal rivers through Oct. 31. The same restrictions are in force on the Elochoman and Grays rivers through Nov. 30.
The Cowlitz and Lewis rivers remain closed to angling.
Fall chinook returning up the Cowlitz are needed for hatchery production. A record low return of natural spawning chinook is expected in the Lewis (including the north fork). Recent floods also may have damaged salmon spawning grounds.
Regulations for the Cowlitz and Lewis rivers are in the Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet.