OLYMPIA — With sunny weather and consistent high river flows boosting catch numbers in the lower river, the Columbia River mainstem from the Megler-Astoria Bridge upstream to Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco will close to sockeye salmon and steelhead fishing earlier than previously scheduled, state fishery managers announced.

The fishery will close to sockeye and steelhead retention beginning Thursday, June 25.

A number of factors went into the decision to close the fishery, including the need to stay within allowable Endangered Species Act (ESA) impacts for sockeye returning to the Snake River by way of the long journey up the Columbia, said Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River fishery manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“We’ve had a stretch of good weather recently, which is great for anglers, but has increased pressure on these fish,” Lothrop said. “We’ll have more information on the sockeye run size next week, but we need to take action now given the high catches to date. The unexpectedly high sockeye catches have resulted in us approaching ESA limits much faster than expected.”

Both the sockeye and steelhead fisheries are closing to limit any additional Snake River sockeye impacts from occurring.

All sockeye and steelhead fishing is closed from the Megler-Astoria Bridge to Highway 395 bridge in Pasco, beginning Thursday.

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