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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

January 6, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Winter steelhead closures happening soon on many local rivers and creeks

These impending steelhead fishing closures were seen coming down the pipeline long before the official news release came out today from state Fish and Wildlife, but now it is official.

Many river systems in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca will close Feb. 1, but the Puyallup River system will close Jan. 16, and some waters near state Fish and Wildlife fish hatcheries will close Feb. 16.

The closures were needed because wild steelhead returns are not expected to meet their target goal.

Wild steelhead returning to most of the rivers scheduled to close are listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Although anglers are required to release any wild steelhead they catch in these rivers, some of those fish inevitably die from the experience.

State Fish and Wildlife is also proposing to make these early closure dates permanent to help protect future runs of wild steelhead.

Waters closing to fishing Jan. 16 are:

Puyallup River System: White River from the mouth to the R Street Bridge in Auburn; Carbon River from the mouth to the Highway 162 Bridge; and Upper Puyallup River from the mouth of the Carbon River upstream.

Waters closing to fishing Feb. 1 are:

Nooksack River Systen: Nooksack River mainstem from the Lummi Indian Reservation boundary to the confluence of North and South forks; North Fork Nooksack River from Maple Creek to Nooksack Falls; Middle Fork Nooksack River from the mouth to the City of Bellingham diversion Dam; and South Fork Nooksack River from the mouth to Skookum Creek.

Skagit River System: Skagit River mainstem from the mouth to the Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport; Skagit River from the mouth of the Cascade River to the Gorge powerhouse at Newhalem: Sauk River from the mouth to the Whitechuck River; and Cascade River from the Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge upstream to headwaters.

Snohomish River System: Snohomish River from the mouth (Burlington Northern railroad bridge) upstream to the confluence of the Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers; Skykomish River from the mouth to the Highway 2 Bridge at the Big Eddy Access; Pilchuck River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Snohomish city diversion dam; Sultan River from the mouth to 400 feet downstream of diversion dam (river mile 9.7); Wallace River from 200 feet upstream of water intake of salmon hatchery to Wallace Falls; North Fork Skykomish River from the mouth to 1,000 feet downstream of Bear Creek Falls; South Fork Skykomish River from the mouth to 600 feet downstream of Sunset Falls fishway; Snoqualmie River from the mouth to the boat ramp at Plum access; Tolt River from the mouth to the USGS trolley cable near confluence of North and South forks; and Raging River from the mouth to Highway 18 Bridge.

Stillaguamish River System: Stillaguamish River from Marine Drive upstream to forks; Pilchuck Creek from the mouth to Highway 9 Bridge; North Fork Stillaguamish River from the mouth to the mouth of French Creek; South Fork Stillaguamish River from the mouth to 400 feet below the Granite Falls fishway outlet; and Canyon Creek from the mouth upstream.

Strait of Juan de Fuca: Dungeness River from the mouth upstream to the forks at Dungeness Forks Campground: Morse Creek from the mouth to the Port Angeles Dam; Salt Creek from the mouth to the bridge on Highway 112; Deep Creek from the mouth upstream; Pysht River from the mouth upstream; Clallam River from the mouth upstream; and Sekiu River from the mouth to forks.

Waters closing to fishing Feb. 16 are:

North Fork Nooksack River from the mouth to Maple Creek.

Skykomish River from the Highway 2 Bridge at the Big Eddy Access to the confluence of North and South forks.

Wallace River from the mouth (farthest downstream railroad bridge) to 200 feet upstream of the water intake of salmon hatchery.

Snoqualmie River from the boat ramp at Plum access to Snoqualmie Falls.

Tokul Creek from the mouth to the posted cable boundary marker.

North Fork Stillaguamish River from the mouth of French Creek to the Swede Heaven Bridge.

Skagit River from the Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport to the mouth of the Cascade River.

Cascade River from the mouth to Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge.

Rivers already closed are:

Samish River, from the I-5 Bridge to the Hickson Bridge; and Samish River, from the mouth to the I-5 Bridge closed Jan. 1.

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