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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 4, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Cowlitz River smelt dip-netting reopens for a final chance this Saturday

KAARTINEN GRASSMANThe timing on reopening the Cowlitz River smelt bank dip-net fishery this Saturday couldn’t be any better.

“It was good last Saturday depending on where you were at,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “It took some one dip to get (a 10 pound daily limit), and others a few dips and you might get done, and maybe 20 minutes or so for others so it was pretty good.”

Sport dip-netting from the banks of the Cowlitz will be open Saturday (March 8) from 6 a.m. through noon. The daily limit will be 10 pounds per person.

“Catch rates were extremely good that day, indicating a strong run, and another opening will give us a better idea of just how strong that run is,” Guy Norman, a state Fish and Wildlife regional director said in a news release.

This was the first time in three years since the smelt dip-net fishery was open. Smelt were listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act after more than a decade of declining returns. Smelt returns in 2011 began making a comeback, and returns have been good since then.

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