Fishing in 30 state rivers idled by drought

EVERETT — The persistent drought in Washington state has led the government to restrict fishing on more than 30 rivers, including several in Snohomish County.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has canceled fishing on some rivers and streams and imposed “hoot-owl” restrictions — only allowing fishing between midnight and 2 p.m. each day — on others.

The restrictions took effect Saturday at 12:01 a.m. until further notice.

“We’re going to continue monitoring the conditions,” said Annette Hoffman, Fish and Wildlife’s fish program manager for the North Puget Sound region.

The ongoing drought has led to record low flows in many rivers across the state, and water temperatures are spiking at levels considered harmful to fish.

As a result, fish in the river systems now are concentrated in cooler pools and holes, making them more vulnerable to poaching and predation.

“We’re trying to maintain as much fishing as we can,” Hoffman said.

“This year, it’s just unprecedented. We feel these steps are necessary to preserve these fish,” she said.

It is currently the season for steelhead and other game trout.

In Snohomish County fishing is now prohibited on the following rivers:

The Stillaguamish River from Marine Drive upstream, including both North and South forks and all tributaries;

The Skykomish River from the mouth upstream, except a stretch near Reiter Ponds from the Gold Bar/Big Eddy Access at U.S. 2 up to the confluence of the North and South forks;

The Wallace River from its mouth at the Skykomish upstream, including all tributaries.

Hoot-owl restrictions are in place for the following rivers:

The North Fork Skykomish River from the mouth upstream, including all tributaries;

The South Fork Skykomish River from Sunset Falls upstream and all tributaries, including the Beckler, Foss, Miller and Rapid rivers and their tributaries;

The Sauk River above the Suiattle River, including the North Fork to the falls and the South Fork to the headwaters.

A complete list of closures now in effect is online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/jul1615b.

Future updates will be posted on the state’s Fishing and Shellfishing Rules website: http://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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