State fishery managers have closed or restricted fishing on more than 30 rivers throughout Washington to help protect fish in areas where drought conditions have reduced flows and increased water temperatures, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said in a press release.
The closures and restrictions took effect Saturday (July 18) and will remain in effect until further notice.
Fishing will be closed in some waters, and limited in others each day to the hours between midnight and 2 p.m. These “hoot-owl” restrictions will go into effect on rivers where fishery managers want to reduce stress on fish during the hottest time of day.
High water temperatures can be deadly for fish such as trout, while diminished stream flows can strand migrating salmon and steelhead, said Craig Burley, fish program manager for WDFW.
“With such extreme drought conditions in several areas of the state, we needed to take these steps to help protect vulnerable fish in waters where we have concerns,” Burley said. “We’ll continue monitoring stream conditions throughout Washington this summer and take additional actions if necessary.”
In North Central Washington, the following are closed to fishing:
- Wenatchee River (Chelan County) from the mouth to the Icicle River Road Bridge.
- Icicle River (Chelan County) from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.
- Lake Wenatchee (Chelan County).
- Okanogan River from the Highway 97 bridge upstream to Zosel Dam, except open to game fish fishing.
- Similkameen River from the mouth upstream to Enloe Dam.
For more information about drought’s impact on fish and wildlife, visit WDFW’s drought webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/drought.