Olympic Peninsula River Closures
The WDFW announced today that the Hoh, Cleawater, Bogochiel, Calawa, So Duc, Dickey, and Quileute rivers are closed to all fishing beginning 12:01 tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Also, the Hoh and Quileute Tribes have discontinued fishing in the rivers and bays as well to protect the fish. The Olympic National Park has also closed to all fishing the Queets, Salmon, upper Hoh, and upper Bogachiel rivers because of the extreme low water. These rivers are flowing at a small fraction of normal flow for this time of year. The Cleawater for instance is only fowing 241 cfs, instead of its normal 2,000 cfs. The Hoh is only flowing 245 cfs instead of its normal 2200 cfs. The closures are to protect the coho, chinook, chum, and steelhead in the river.
Western Washington is experiencing a drought. The Skagit has gravel and sand bars exposed in the Mount Vernon area that would normally be covered by 6 to 8 feet of water. The Sakgit at Mount Vernon should be 15 to 18 feet at the river guage, it is only 9 feet! The Skyomish can be waded across without trouble at Ben Howard and other places, normally one would be a fool to even try to cross it by wading.
Skagit Bay is chock full of silvers, fortunately it is also closed to fishing for them at this time waiting for more water in the river to move upstream. This was to be a banner year for coho and late summer run steelhead in Western Washington. The current drought has certainly changed that.
On a positive note, the last time this happened, Washington had banner years of anadromous fish runs for about 10 years. Wonder if closing the rivers to all fishing (read fish killing) has something to do with the increase in fish numbers in the generations following the closures for drought. Hmmmm..... just a thought.
Unless we get rain soon, and the weather reports keep talking about nice sunny weather with highs in the low to mid 50's and lows in the low 40's or upper 30's. No rain and a slowing of snowmelt in the high Cascades with the lower temps is not good for the fish at all.
We in Washington may be in for a poor winter run season as a result of low river flows.