steelhead

Steelhead

OLYMPIA – The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed the main stem Columbia River to sockeye salmon and steelhead fishing from the Megler-Astoria bridge upstream to the Highway 395 bridge at Pasco.

Sunny weather and consistent high river flows boosted catch numbers in the lower river, leading to the earlier-than-anticipated closure.

The fishery will closed to sockeye and steelhead retention June 25.

Factors going into the decision included the need to stay within allowable Endangered Species Act impacts for sockeye returning to the Snake River by way of the Columbia, said Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River fishery manager with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“We’ve had a stretch of good weather recently, which is great for anglers, but has increased pressure on these fish,” Lothrop said. “We’ll have more information on the sockeye run size … but we need to take action now given the high catches to date. The unexpectedly high sockeye catches have resulted in us approaching ESA limits much faster than expected.”

The department is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and other recreation opportunities, said the department announcement.

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