Adult salmon harvest rules modified for the lower Cowlitz River

February 29, 2024

Action: Reduces adult salmon portion of the daily limit to 1 adult; adult Chinook must be both adipose and ventral fin clipped.

Effective date: March 1, 2024, until further notice.

Species affected: Salmon.                                                                                                

Location: Cowlitz River from boundary markers at the mouth to the fishing boundary signs below the Barrier Dam.

Rules: Salmon: Minimum size is 12 inches. Daily limit is six; up to one adult may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook, adult Chinook with both the adipose fin and a ventral fin clipped with healed scars, and hatchery coho.

Reason for action: A significant broodstock shortage in 2020 resulted in a reduced Cowlitz origin spring Chinook smolt release in 2022. The shortfall was supplemented with excess Spring Chinook smolts from the Kalama marked with an adipose and ventral fin clip. Adults from the supplemental release are returning this year and are available for harvest, resulting in the need for a modified adult salmon fishery. These fishery rules will optimize Cowlitz origin hatchery broodstock collection and reintroduction of spring Chinook to the upper Cowlitz basin, while providing harvest opportunities for hatchery jack spring Chinook and adult spring Chinook with both an adipose and ventral fin clip with healed scars.

Additional information: Under permanent rules, the lower Cowlitz River is currently open for hatchery spring Chinook retention from the mouth up to the fishing boundary signs below the Barrier Dam. Chinook jacks are any Chinook between 12 inches and 24 inches in length. All other permanent rules published in the Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet remain in effect.

Information contact: Josua Holowatz, District Fish Biologist, 360.906-6771.

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet for details on definitions and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at 360-902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call toll free 866-880-5431.

Request this information in an alternative format or language at, 833-885-1012, TTY (711), or