THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
The Nooksack River, including all forks, closes to all fishing beginning Saturday, Jan. 7 until further notice, fishery managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Hatchery steelhead returns to the Kendall Creek Hatchery on the North Fork Nooksack are well short of broodstock needs. Closing to all fishing will increase the odds of meeting the program goals and continuation of the program. The Nooksack River closed for salmon fishing on Jan. 1, 2023.
The 2022-2023 hatchery steelhead forecast is 80 fish, while the broodstock goal is 160 fish. All co-managers have agreed to cease fishing in the Nooksack. WDFW and co-managers will continue to monitor steelhead returns and may reopen seasons if collection goals are met.
WDFW and co-managers are looking at ways to solve the issues with the current hatchery steelhead program in the Nooksack River and plan to share specific updates this year. Updates include expansion of monitoring to help better understand fishery impacts and economic benefits of the steelhead fishing seasons, initial scoping and permitting for a new Nooksack Basin integrated hatchery program using wild steelhead broodstock and pursuing the use of hydroacoustic and sonar tools to allow for real-time monitoring of Nooksack steelhead and salmon.