The Adventure Guys

The inside story on outside recreation for South Puget Sound and beyond

NOTICE: The Adventure Guys has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved The Adventure Guys.
Visit the new section.

State announces closure of major North Puget Sound rivers because of poor steelhead returns

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on Jan. 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm with 1 Comment »
January 25, 2011 9:24 pm

After closure of fishing in several South Sound river systems, today’s announcement that the major North Sound systems will also be closed should come as no surprise. In fact, North Sound fishing guru Mike Chamberlain of Ted’s Sports Center said he heard the closures were coming when I talked to him this morning while doing Wednesday’s fishing report.

Any way, here is the news …

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife just announced that fishing for steelhead and other game fish will be closed next week in the Nooksack, Snohomish, Stillaguamish and Skagit river systems, as well as several streams along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The department said most rivers will close Feb. 1, although, some waters near state fish hatcheries will remain open through Feb. 15 to provide anglers an opportunity to catch and keep hatchery steelhead.

Pre-season estimates developed by the department last fall indicate that wild steelhead will return in numbers far short of target levels, said Jim Scott, assistant director for the Fish Program. The closures are necessary to meet the conservation objectives of the agency’s statewide steelhead management plan and comply with provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act, he said in a news release.

“We’re closing these rivers early because of conservation concerns,” Scott said in the release. “With low numbers of wild steelhead expected back, we need to take this action to protect those wild fish that do return.”

The early closures are timed in each watershed to coincide with the traditional dates returning wild steelhead begin to arrive, said Bob Leland, the steelhead program manager.

Wild steelhead returning to most of the rivers scheduled to close are listed as “threatened” under the ESA. Although anglers are required to release any wild steelhead they catch in these rivers, some of those fish inevitably die from the experience, Leland said.

Waters closing to fishing Feb. 1:

Nooksack River system

  • Nooksack River mainstem from the Lummi Indian Reservation boundary to the confluence of North and South forks.
  • North Fork Nooksack River from Maple Creek to Nooksack Falls.
  • Middle Fork Nooksack River from the mouth to the City of Bellingham diversion Dam.
  • South Fork Nooksack River from the mouth to Skookum Creek.

Snohomish River system

  • Snohomish River from the mouth (Burlington Northern railroad bridge) upstream to the confluence of the Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers.
  • Skykomish River from the mouth to the state Route 2 Bridge at the Big Eddy Access.
  • Pilchuck River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Snohomish city diversion dam.
  • Sultan River from the mouth to 400 feet downstream of diversion dam (river mile 9.7).
  • Wallace River from 200 feet upstream of water intake of salmon hatchery to Wallace Falls.
  • North Fork Skykomish River from the mouth to 1,000 feet downstream of Bear Creek Falls.
  • South Fork Skykomish River from the mouth to 600 feet downstream of Sunset Falls fishway.
  • Snoqualmie River from the mouth to the boat ramp at Plumb access.
  • Tolt River from the mouth to the USGS trolley cable near confluence of North and South forks.
  • Raging River from the mouth to state Route 18 Bridge.

Stillaguamish River system

  • Stillaguamish River from Marine Drive upstream to forks.
  • Pilchuck Creek from the mouth to the Highway 9 Bridge.
  • North Fork Stillaguamish River from the mouth to the mouth of French Creek.
  • South Fork Stillaguamish River from the mouth to 400 feet below the Granite Falls fishway outlet.
  • Canyon Creek from the mouth upstream.

Skagit River system

  • Skagit River mainstem from the mouth to the Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport.
  • Skagit River from the mouth of the Cascade River to the Gorge powerhouse at Newhalem.
  • Sauk River from the mouth to the Whitechuck River.
  • Cascade River from the Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge upstream to headwaters.

Strait of Juan de Fuca

  • Dungeness River from the mouth upstream to the forks at Dungeness Forks Campground.
  • Morse Creek from the mouth to the Port Angeles Dam.
  • Salt Creek from the mouth to the bridge on Highway 112.
  • Deep Creek from the mouth upstream.
  • Pysht River from the mouth upstream.
  • Clallam River from the mouth upstream.
  • Sekiu River from the mouth to forks.

Waters closing to fishing Feb. 16:

  • North Fork Nooksack River from the mouth to Maple Creek.
  • Skykomish River from the Highway 2 Bridge at the Big Eddy Access to the confluence of North and South forks.
  • Wallace River from the mouth (farthest downstream railroad bridge) to 200 feet upstream of the water intake of salmon hatchery.
  • Snoqualmie River from the boat ramp at Plumb access to Snoqualmie Falls.
  • Tokul Creek from the mouth to the posted cable boundary marker.
  • North Fork Stillaguamish River from the mouth of French Creek to the Swede Heaven Bridge.
  • Skagit River from the Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport to the mouth of the Cascade River.
  • Cascade River from the mouth to Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge.

The lower Green River in King County and the White, Carbon and upper Puyallup rivers closed to fishing for steelhead and other game fish Jan. 16. The upper Green River also is scheduled to close Feb. 1.

For more information on the closures, check the emergency rule changes on the agency’s website.

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. puyallup_leon says:

    I wish these guys would tell the whole story. The Puyallup River closed 2 weeks after it opened for Salmon back in September. Look at the catch records and you’ll see it wasn’t the sportfishers that over fished the river, but were paying for it.

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0