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

April 15, 2008

Trout opener for Swift Reservoir delayed until May 24

Action: Emergency regulation to delay opening of fishing on Swift Reservoir from April 26 to May 24, 2008.

Effective date: April 26, 2008

Species affected: Trout

Location: Swift Reservoir in Skamania County, which is the uppermost reservoir of the three reservoirs on the North Fork Lewis River in Region 5.

Reasons for action: The opening of trout season on Swift Reservoir in Skamania County is being delayed for a month due to the abnormally slow melting of the heavy snow pack in the basin. Spring inflows have yet to occur, resulting in unusually low water levels on the uppermost Lewis River reservoir.

Currently the reservoir is down about 82 feet below full pool. It needs to raise another 55 feet before the boat ramp is available for use. Current conditions make it difficult to provide a quality fishing opportunity for the public. Access, whether from shore or a boat would be extremely limited and unsafe. It also makes it extremely difficult to plant the 60,000 catchable trout scheduled for release prior to the opener.

Other information: Swift Reservoir is a popular and traditional opening day fishery in Skamania County for many anglers. It is mostly a boat fishery with limited access from shore. Typically, by the opener the reservoir has filled with rain and snowmelt runoff with the boat ramp being usable. That is not the case this year.

In late March, PacifiCorp, which has managed the reservoir for more than 50 years, saw that Swift would not fill in time for the traditional April 26 opening. The snow pack was 170 percent of normal and included an abundance of low elevation snow. The cold weather that hit the region in late March and early April not only kept any snow from melting, but actually added to the snow pack. The reservoir level is 50 feet below the 15-year average for this time of year. This is close to the lowest April level seen in 50 years. Long-term weather forecasts and snow pack analysis lead PacifiCorp to believe the reservoir will completely fill by mid June. The Swift campground will remain closed until the snow melts and crews have the opportunity to clean up downed trees and other winter damage.

The 60,000 catchable rainbow trout scheduled for the opener will be held at the hatchery until the later opener. They will be planted the week before Memorial Day weekend. The trout will get a chance for additional growth before being released.

Information contact: 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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