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Sunday, October 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Drought fishing restrictions eased on some rivers, but not in Spokane region

Spokane River flows have been lower and warmer than average in 2015. (Rich Landers)
Spokane River flows have been lower and warmer than average in 2015. (Rich Landers)

FISHING -- Washington fishery managers are easing drought-related fishing restrictions and closures on more than a dozen rivers where conditions have improved, but so far no changes have been announced in far-Eastern Washington streams.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials in July closed or restricted fishing on more than 60 rivers and streams to protect fish from increased stress in drought-induced low river flows and warm water temperatures.

Conditions in some rivers have returned to normal for this time of year following recent rains and cooler weather, said Ron Warren, WDFW salmon policy lead.

 "If those conditions continue, we'll likely ease restrictions in other rivers in the coming days and weeks," he said.

Among the more than 40 rivers that are still closed or restricted to fishing only during "hoot owl" hours (no fishing allowed from 2 p.m.-midnight) are the following in the Spokane region:

Region 1 – Eastern Washington

Closed to fishing:

  • North Fork Touchet River above Spangler Creek.
  • South Fork Touchet River from the mouth to Griffen Fork and above Griffen Fork.
  • Wolf Fork Touchet River from the mouth to Coates Creek and Robinson Fork.
  • Asotin Creek and tributaries (Asotin Co.) from the mouth to headwaters.
  • Kettle River and all tributaries (Ferry Co.) from the Barstow Bridge to the headwaters, all portions contained within Washington.

Hoot-owl restrictions:

  • Walla Walla River (Walla Walla Co.) from McDonald Road Bridge to the Oregon State Boundary.
  • Touchet River (Columbia/Walla Walla Co.) from the mouth to the confluence of the North and South forks.
  • North Fork Touchet River from the mouth to Spangler Creek.
  • Tucannon River (Columbia/Garfield Co.) From the Highway 12 Bridge to Cow Camp Bridge.
  • Spokane River (Spokane/Lincoln Co.) from upstream boundary at Plese Flats Day Use Area to the Idaho State Boundary.
  • Spokane River tributaries, including Little Spokane River and tributaries (Spokane/Pend Oreille/Stevens Counties) from the State Route 25 Bridge upstream to Monroe Street Dam.
  • Colville River and all tributaries (Stevens Co.) from the mouth to the headwaters.
  • Sullivan Creek and all tributaries (Pend Oreille Co.) from the mouth to the headwaters.

Drought-related fishing restrictions were removed Wednesday on the following streams:

Fishing is open, or no longer restricted to specified hours, on the rivers listed by region below.

Region 3 - South Central Washington

Hoot owl restrictions lifted on:

  • Naches River from Tieton River to Bumping River/Little Naches River
  • Rattlesnake Creek
  • Yakima River from I-82 at Union Gap to South Cle Elum Bridge

Region 4 - North Puget Sound

Reopening to fishing:

  • Lower Nooksack River from Slater Road to Deming
  • Lower Skykomish River
  • Stilliguamish River from Marine Drive upstream to the North and South forks

Region 5 - Southwest Washington

Hoot-owl restrictions lifted on:

  • East Fork Lewis River from Lewisville Park upstream
  • Washougal River from Mt. Norway Bridge upstream

Reopening to fishing:

  • East Fork Lewis River from Lewisville Park downstream
  • Washougal River from Mt. Norway Bridge downstream

Region 6 - Olympic Peninsula and South Sound

Hoot owl restrictions lifted on:

  • Nisqually River

Reopening to fishing:

  • Quilcene River
  • Upper Quileyute River
  • Lower Dickey River
  • Lower Sol Duc River
  • Lower Calwah River
  • Lower Bogachiel River
  • Lower Clearwater River
  • Salmon River



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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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