The Quinault, Salmon, and Queets rivers are close to sport fishing

The Quinault, Salmon, and Queets rivers are close to sport fishing

Multiple rivers on the Olympic Peninsula are close to steel.

Due to declining wild steelhead populations, Olympic National Park will close the Queets, Salmon and Quinault Rivers to sport fishing on November 27, 2023, according to officials.

Due to the low expected returns, these conservation closures are necessary to eliminate any sporting impacts on wild steelhead that make their way to spawning areas inside and outside the park. The Olympic Peninsula Cape was recently petitioned to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Figure 2. Downward trend in total size of wild steelhead in the Quinault River system, 1985-2023. Data provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The sport fishing closures are due to lower expected returns, expected commercial harvest outside the park, and declining trends in total run volume with chronic declines in wild steelhead escapes. The park and state escape targets are 4,200 and 1,600 wild steelhead in the Queets and Upper Quinault system, respectively.

“Due to the low numbers, we are forced to use the only tool remaining to minimize impacts to wild steelhead – temporarily halting sport hunting within the park. We recognize that these closures impact sport anglers and fishing guides, and we appreciate their cooperation in helping to protect these valuable wild resources,” he said. Olympic National Park Supervisor Sula Jacobs.

Olympic National Park has significant interests in the conservation of wild steelhead in these rivers based on long-term declines in annual run volumes and budgets dating back to 1980 (see figures below). It is worth noting that record low returns of wild steelhead have been recorded in the Queets and Quinault systems in the past few years. Of additional concern, Wild Steelhead have failed to meet state and national park escape targets in 8 of the past 10 years in the Queets and 6 of the past 10 years in the Upper Quinault.

Fisheries within Olympic National Park are managed to provide diverse fishing opportunities, allow for harvest of hatchery head, and maintain wild salmonid populations. The National Park Service appreciates the cooperation and understanding of recreational anglers and professional guides during this time. Olympic National Park is implementing the following season changes:

  • Queets River: Closed to recreational fishing effective November 27, 2023
  • Salmon River: Closed to recreational fishing effective November 27, 2023
  • Quinault River (overpass downstream to park boundary): Closed to recreational fishing beginning November 27, 2023

Sport fishing regulations in Olympic National Park are implemented in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Queets, Quinault, and Salmon Rivers within Olympic National Park are expected to reopen to recreational fishing on June 1, 2024. For current fishing regulations and information, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/fishing.htm

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