Low Numbers of Returning Wild Chinook Lead to Chehalis River Closure

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OLYMPIA – The sport fishery for spring chinook salmon on the Chehalis River will not open as scheduled April 16 due to low numbers of returning fish, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

After analyzing the preseason forecast, fishery managers identified the need to close the Chehalis River fishery from the mouth of the Chehalis River to Porter Bridge and from the Porter Bridge to the high bridge on the Weyerhaeuser 1000 line. The fishery will remain closed for the entire spring and summer season, previously scheduled to be open April 16-July 31.

The preseason forecast shows that approximately 900 spring chinook are headed back to the river, an estimate well below the goal of 1,400 needed for spawning, said Bill Freymond, WDFW regional fish manager.

“From our estimates, the run size is significantly lower than what is required to meet our escapement goal for this year,” Freymond said. “It’s an unfortunate situation for anglers, but we need to protect salmon.”

Freymond said although the season is closed for chinook, a coho-directed fishery is scheduled on the river this fall.