An expected poor spring chinook return has prompted state Fish and Wildlife to close or release fish in sections of the Lewis River.
All chinook must be released in the Lewis River mainstem from the mouth upstream the mouth of the East Fork, and in the North Fork Lewis River from mouth of the East Fork to the overhead powerlines below Merwin Dam from Friday, Feb. 15 until further notice.
All fishing in the North Fork Lewis River from Johnson Creek (located downstream from the Lewis River Salmon Hatchery) upstream to Merwin Dam is closed from Friday, Feb. 15 to May 31.
This season only 1,600 spring chinook are forecast back to the Lewis River compared to 2,700 forecast last year with an actual return of 1,800.
Hatchery returns will be monitored weekly to assess the strength of the returns.
The mainstem Lewis River and North Fork Lewis River from Johnson Creek downstream remain open to fishing for hatchery steelhead. The North Fork Lewis River from Johnson Creek upstream will reopen to fishing for hatchery steelhead June 1.
(Photo by The Seattle Times archive)