Chehalis River, all tributaries closed to all fishing

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed the Chehalis River and all its tributaries to all fishing.

The closure impacts several rivers in eastern Grays Harbor County.

Fishery managers said that the projected return of steelhead is well below the goal of 8,600 fish for the fourth year in a row, district fisheries biologist Mike Scharpf said.

“Given this recent history, the closure represents a conservative approach to ensure conservation goals can be met,” a WDFW release sites Scharpf as saying. Poor ocean conditions are likely a contributing factor to lower steelhead returns across the state, he said.

The release states, “The closure includes the Chehalis River and all tributaries, including but not limited to Elk, Johns, Hoquiam, Newaukum, Satsop, Skookumchuck, Wishkah and Wynoochee rivers.”

Curt Holt, a district fisheries biologist, noted that the Humptulips River still is open to fishing. He said there had been some confusion as to whether the Humptulips was a tributary of the Chehalis. It is not.

Only 6,616 steelhead were projected to return to the Chehalis basin this year.