Fishery managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have closed Willapa Bay tributaries in an effort to meet preseason expectations for spawning wild steelhead.
In a release, WDFW says that the affected rivers include the tributaries of Willapa River: Forks Creek, Palix River and all forks, Nemah River North, South, and Middle, the Naselle River, and Bear River.
The closures begin Monday, March 2 and are expected to last through Friday, May 22.
With projected low steelhead returns statewide this year, WDFW and tribal co-managers took steps in-season to maximize the number of wild steelhead that return to spawning grounds, including closing all fishing in the Chehalis River.
Losee noted that the number of wild steelhead spawning in the Chehalis River has fallen below the escapement goal every year since 2016, indicating a continuing problem with low returns that can also be seen in Willapa Bay.
Fishery managers will continue to monitor other area rivers and streams and announce additional fishery changes as needed. Anglers are encouraged to visit https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ to see in-season rule changes.