Chehalis, Tribs Closing To Steelheading Due To Low Forecast

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Chehalis River and its tributaries will close to all fishing at midnight Sunday, Feb. 16, due to low projected steelhead returns, fishery managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced.

THE HITS KEEP COMING FOR WASHINGTON STEELHEADERS. DESPITE GOOD FISHING FOR HATCHERY WINTER-RUNS ON PARTS OF THE CHEHALIS SYSTEM, THE OVERALL STEELHEAD FORECAST IS BELOW THE ESCAPEMENT GOAL FOR A FOURTH STRAIGHT YEAR. AARON SWAYZE CAUGHT THIS CLIPPED FISH ON THE WYNOOCHEE LAST MONTH. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)


With only 6,616 Chehalis basin steelhead projected to return this year, returns of wild Chehalis steelhead are forecast to come in well below the escapement goal of 8,600 fish for the fourth year in a row, said Mike Scharpf, district fisheries biologist with WDFW.

Given this recent history, the closure represents a conservative approach to ensure conservation goals can be met, Scharpf said.

“There are many factors affecting steelhead in the Chehalis,” said Scharpf. “Given that steelhead populations are returning in low numbers statewide this year, poor ocean conditions are likely one of those factors.”

The closure includes the Chehalis River and all tributaries, including but not limited to Elk, Johns, Hoquiam, Newaukum, Satsop, Skookumchuck, Wishkah, and Wynoochee rivers.

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