Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife FISHING RULE CHANGE
WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

March 5, 2014

Smelt dipping on the Cowlitz River to open for one more day

Action: Opens recreational smelt fishing in the Cowlitz River for one more 6-hour period.

Species affected: Eulachon smelt.

Effective dates: Open Sat. March 8, 2014

Open hours: 6:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

Location: Cowlitz River (bank only).

Daily Limit: 10-pound daily limit. Possession limit is equal to one daily limit.

Gear: Dip net only.

Reason for action: Sets one additional day of recreational smelt dipping opportunity in the Cowlitz River. The eulachon return was delayed due to cold river temperatures that caused the fish to hold in the warmer Columbia River estuary for most of February. The fish only showed up in the Cowlitz River on the final day of the original four-day season (Saturdays from Feb. 8 through Mar. 1). This year will be the fourth year of significantly improved smelt returns to the Columbia River beginning in 2011. Even with the one day extension to the sport season, combined sport and commercial harvest is expected to not exceed 1% of the total run size forecasted for 2014. The fishery serves as an important test fishery to monitor run strength and timing and to collect biological data. The regulations are consistent with a reduced Level One fishery as described in the "Washington and Oregon Eulachon Management Plan" for the Columbia River.

Information contact: (360) 696-6211. For latest information press *1010

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.