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

February 12, 2003

Fishing closures on Skagit River system

Actions: The Skagit River from its mouth upstream to the Dalles Bridge at Concrete, including Fisher Slough, will close to all fishing March 1, 2003.

Effective opening and closing dates: March 1, 2003 through March 31, 2003 - The area from the mouth upstream to the Memorial Highway Bridge (Highway 536 Bridge at Mt. Vernon) will be closed to all fishing.

April 1, 2003 through May 31, 2003 - The area from the mouth upstream to the Memorial Highway Bridge (Highway 536 Bridge at Mt. Vernon) re-open for trout, Dolly Varden and other game fish, but will remain closed to fishing for steelhead. The fishery will be open under selective gear rules, however it will be lawful to fish from a motorized vessel.

March 1, 2003 through May 31, 2003 - The area from the State Route 536 Bridge at Mt. Vernon upstream to the Dalles Bridge at Concrete, as well as Fisher Slough from the mouth upstream to the State Route 530 Bridge, will be closed to all fishing.

Species affected: Steelhead and all other fish.

Location: Skagit River, including Fisher Slough

Reason for action: The preseason forecast for Skagit River wild winter steelhead returning this winter and spring is 6,100, slightly above the basin's escapement goal of 6,000 fish.

Other information: The area from the mouth upstream to the Memorial Hwy. Bridge (Hwy. 536 at Mt. Vernon) will be open April 1 through May 31 for trout, Dolly Varden/bull trout and other game fish. All steelhead must be released. The Skagit River and Sauk River catch-and-release seasons remain open as outlined in the 2002/2003 Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet.

Information contact: Pete Castle, District Fish Biologist, 360-466-4345, ext. 230

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