Drought forces fishing restrictions on Nooksack’s south fork

Washington fish and wildlife officials have enacted fishing restrictions on 38 rivers over concerns of drought-related dead and stressed fish.

The Spokesman Review reports that the statewide closures are set in areas where drought conditions have reduced flows and increased water temperatures.

The only Whatcom County river affected is the south fork of the Nooksack River. Starting Saturday, July 18, fishing is closed from the mouth to Skookum Creek, and from Wanlick Creek to headwaters including Wanlick and all tributaries.

State fish program manager Craig Burley says high water temperatures can be deadly for fish, especially trout, while diminished stream flows can strand migrating salmon and steelhead.

Another 16 river systems that will be restricted to “hoot owl” hours that prohibit fishing from 2 p.m. to midnight.

A list of the closures and restrictions is at wdfw.wa.gov/news/jul1615b/.