OUTDOORS: Low flows closing West End rivers to fishing

A DRY SUMMER coupled with a sunny start to autumn has drawn down stream flows to mere trickles in some patches, leading to more than 50 North Coast river and stream closures.

The closure begins Saturday and includes the biggies: the Quillayute, Sol Duc, Calawah and Bogachiel near Forks, the Hoh River and the South Fork of the Hoh River. A full list is available at tinyurl.com/ PDN-NorthCoastClosures.

“Historic low flows this summer are creating conditions that limit fish movements and result in higher-than-expected harvest rates,” said James Losee, WDFW Region 6 fish program manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“These areas are closing to fishing until river conditions improve and salmon are able to reach the spawning grounds in adequate numbers.”

There’s no specified end date to the closure, and the long-term forecast doesn’t show much change from the sunny and warm pattern for at least a week. Significant rainfall, or evidence salmon are making successful progress upstream, will be the benchmarks for reopening the rivers.

Fish and Wildlife said the moves follow regulation changes in tribal co-managed fisheries. Additionally, Olympic National Park has closed respective fisheries in associated waterbodies inside its boundaries.

Razor clam instead

Razor clam digs on evening low tides are approved from Saturday through Oct. 14.

“Most of the 2,700 harvesters who went out during last week’s season opener found easy digging, and we’re expecting more of the same,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for Fish and Wildlife. “As usual, we’ll continue to test and monitor the situation closely prior to all planned openings.”

Here is the dig schedule:

• Saturday, 6:21 p.m.; 0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors.

• Sunday, 7:05 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis.

• Monday, 7:46 p.m.; -0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors.

• Tuesday, 8:26 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis.

• Wednesday, 9:06 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors.

• Thursday, 9:46 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis.

Friday, Oct. 14, 10:29 p.m.; 0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors.

The latest marine toxin levels at Mocrocks beaches achieved a satisfactory health guideline level. However, the state Department of Health requires two test samples taken 10 days apart to fall under the health guideline level before a beach can reopen for razor clam digging.

Fish and Wildlife conducted summer assessments showing a strong razor clam population except at Kalaloch, which is closed for the entire 2022-2023 season.

More tentative dates are planned on Oct. 24-30, and during November and December.

Trout plant in Jefferson

Quilcene’s Ward Norden checked in with news that Lake Leland has already had its fall trout plant.

“The fishing is already good at the pier. This trout plant is a couple weeks earlier than in past years, but the lake’s water temperature has already dropped into the comfort zone of the trout, 53 degrees.

________

Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at mcarman@peninsuladailynews.com.

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