Most of the Columbia River will be closed to salmon and steelhead fishing starting Thursday.
“We recognize that this closure is difficult for anglers, but we have an obligation to meet our (Endangered Species Act) goals so that fisheries can continue in the future,” said Bill Tweit, Columbia River fishery coordinator for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
No salmon fishing will be allowed starting Thursday from the blue bridge at Pasco downstream to near the mouth of the Columbia River.
The expanded restriction comes as the counts of fall chinook at Bonneville Dam are 29 percent below preseason forecasts.
Tweit said the upriver fall chinook run provides the bulk of the harvest opportunity for fall fisheries, but that returns in recent years have been declining because of unfavorable ocean conditions.