Lower Cowlitz River closes to retention of hatchery fall Chinook

Cowlitz River - (Cowlitz County)

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Action: Closes retention of hatchery Chinook.

Effective date: Oct. 1, 2022, until further notice.

Species affected: Chinook salmon.

Locations: Cowlitz River, from the mouth to the posted markers below the Barrier Dam.

Rule: Salmon: min. size 12". Daily limit 6, up to 3 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery coho.

Reason for action: Fall Chinook returns to the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery have been below levels needed to meet broodstock collection goals for the Cowlitz Hatchery Chinook program. Historically run timing of lower river tule fall Chinook indicates the majority have transitioned from the mainstem Columbia into tributary waters. Therefore, the vast majority of fall Chinook available for Cowlitz River hatchery programs are in the Cowlitz River. Closing the lower Cowlitz River to hatchery Chinook retention will help meet hatchery program goals and support harvest fisheries in future years.

Additional information: Fishery managers will continue to monitor Chinook returns to the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery to determine if and when fisheries may be reopened. The posted fishing boundary markers remain at the standard 400-foot location below the Barrier Dam at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery. All other permanent rules published in the Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet remain in effect. 

Information contact: Josua Holowatz, District 10 Fish Biologist, 360-906-6771.

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