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

July 31, 2003

Hatchery summer run steelhead daily limit increased on Cowlitz, North Fork Lewis rivers beginning Aug. 1

Action: Up to three hatchery steelhead may be retained on portions of the Cowlitz and North Fork Lewis rivers.

Effective Dates:

Cowlitz River - August 1 through October 31 North Fork Lewis River downstream of Colvin Creek - August 1 through October 31 North Fork Lewis River upstream of Colvin Creek - August 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 powerlines below Merwin Dam.

Reason for action: Hatchery summer run steelhead returns to the Cowlitz and North Fork Lewis rivers have been strong. Through July 21, a total of 887 fish had returned to Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery. Last week, creel sampling showed excellent fishing with boat anglers averaging nearly hatchery steelhead per rod. At Merwin Dam on the North Fork Lewis River, over 5,000 steelhead had been counted through July 23. The hatchery escapement goals on both rivers are expected to be met.

The Hwy. 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 actual 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 October 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". Minimum size 12". Release wild cutthroat, wild steelhead, and steelhead with missing right ventral fins.

On the North Fork Lewis River, up to three hatchery steelhead may be retained as part of the trout daily limit. Minimum size 20". Release wild cutthroat and wild steelhead.

Surplus hatchery steelhead are being recycled downstream each week on the Cowlitz and North Fork Lewis rivers, typically at Massey Bar on the Cowlitz and at the Lewis River Salmon Hatchery.

Information contact: Chuck Johnson (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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