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

June 30, 2004

Daily limit for hatchery steelhead will increase on the Cowlitz and North Fork Lewis rivers

Daily limit for hatchery steelhead will increase on the Cowlitz and North Fork Lewis rivers

Action: Up to 3 hatchery steelhead may retained on portions of the Cowlitz and North Fork Lewis rivers beginning July 1.

Effective Dates: Cowlitz River July 1 through October 31 North Fork Lewis River downstream of Colvin Creek July 1 through October 31 North Fork Lewis River upstream of Colvin Creek July 1 through September 30

Species affected: Hatchery summer-run steelhead

Location: Cowlitz River from the Hwy 4 Bridge at Kelso upstream to 400 feet or posted markers below the Barrier Dam;

North Fork Lewis River from the I-5 Bridge upstream to the overhead power lines below Merwin Dam

Reason for action: Summer run steelhead returns to the Cowlitz and North Fork Lewis rivers have been strong and hatchery escapement goals on both rivers are expected to be met. Summer run steelhead abundance peaks in June and July with good numbers of fish available into early fall. The strong returns provide the opportunity to liberalize the daily bag limit in these areas to allow increased harvest of hatchery summer run steelhead.

The Highway 4 Bridge that crosses the Cowlitz River at Kelso and the I-5 Bridge that crosses the North Fork Lewis River at Woodland were used as the lower boundaries of the increased hatchery steelhead daily limits to target fish destined to those systems. Steelhead destined for areas upstream from Bonneville Dam can be found this time of year seeking temporary relief in the cooler waters near the mouths of these rivers.

Under permanent rules, the North Fork Lewis River upstream from Colvin Creek (located upstream from the salmon hatchery) closes to all angling beginning Oct. 1 to protect the wild fall chinook spawning in the area.

Other information: On the Cowlitz River, the trout daily limit is 5 fish, no more than 3 over 20 inches. Minimum size 12 inches. Release wild cutthroat, wild steelhead and steelhead with missing right ventral fins.

On the North Fork Lewis River, wild steelhead and all other trout must be released.

Surplus hatchery steelhead are being recycled downstream each week on the Cowlitz and North Fork Lewis rivers, typically at the Interstate 5 and Olequa boat ramps on the Cowlitz and below the forks on the Lewis.

Information contact: Wolf Dammers/John Weinheimer (360) 696-6211

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.

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