Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife FISHING RULE CHANGE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

December 16, 2021

Nooksack River, mainstem, North Fork, and Middle Fork fishery update

Action: Closes all recreational fishing.

Effective date: Dec. 17, 2021, until further notice.

Species affected: All species.

Location: Nooksack River: Mainstem from mouth to Forks; North Fork from forks to Nooksack Falls; Middle Fork from confluence to former site of Bellingham diversion dam.

Rule: Closed to all fishing (closed waters).

Reason for action: These measures are necessary to meet Nooksack hatchery steelhead broodstock collection goals.

Additional information: In 2021, hatchery steelhead returned to the Nooksack less abundant than forecast and the broodstock goal was not reached. The 2021-2022 hatchery steelhead forecast is for 74 fish, while 160 fish are needed to make the broodstock goal. All Nooksack comanagers are in agreement that to ensure future sport and treaty opportunity on this stock, these measures are necessary. In response, the comanagers have all agreed to cease fishing in the Nooksack. The South Fork will remain open for salmon and other gamefish through the end of the year, and then be closed to all fishing as part of the measures taken to bolster broodstock collection. Steelhead returns will continue to be monitored and seasons may reopen if collection goals are met.

Information contact: Team Mill Creek: 425-775-1311 or TeamMillCreek@dfw.wa.gov

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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