Low steelhead returns to the Marblemount Hatchery have prompted the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to close Saturday a portion of the Cascade River.
The river will be closed from the mouth upstream to the Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge to ensure enough steelhead make it back to the hatchery to meet spawning goals, said Bob Leland, the department’s steelhead program manager.
That portion of the Cascade is scheduled to reopen to recreational fishing Feb. 1. Leland said, however, if spawning goals are met before then, the department could reopen the river sooner.
“Because pre-season forecasts for steelhead returns to the Skagit River Basin are down this year, additional fishing closures to protect wild steelhead also are likely this spring,” Leland said in a news release.
Catch-and-release fisheries in the Skagit and Sauk rivers are among those fisheries that likely will not open next spring, Leland said.