Salmon anglers will have to wait until the end of July before they can legally retain Chinook salmon on the Cowlitz River again.
On Monday the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced an emergency closure that will extend from the mouth of the Cowlitz up to Forest Road 1270, along with the Cispus River and Lake Scanewa. That closure will last from July 3-31.
Spring Chinook salmon runs to the Cowlitz River have been depressed in recent years and preseason forecasts again predicted sparse numbers. So far the actual return of spring kings has been even worse than those initial forecasts anticipated.
A press release noted that the fishery was closed in order to “help ensure hatchery broodstock goals are met.” The closure will also allow for additional adult fish to be trucked upriver above Cowlitz Falls Dam as part of ongoing reintroduction efforts.
The annual fall Chinook run on the Cowlitz River will begin to arrive in August after the spring run ends. Fishery regulations will revert to permanent rules on Aug. 1. All other permanent regulations will remain in effect during July.