LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) -- Runs of smelt were once so big in the Cowlitz River and other rivers in Western Washington, people could stand on the shore with nets and dip out buckets of the small fish.
The runs started declining in the 1980s and there hasn't been any smelt dipping since 2010 when the National Marine Fisheries Service listed them as a threatened species.
Now researchers with the Fish and Wildlife departments in Washington and Oregon as well as the Cowlitz Tribe are trying to learn more about how smelt live and spawn.
The Daily News reports (http://is.gd/EQJ3AU ) they are finding signs the fish may be rebounding in the Cowlitz. The fish have been attracting birds and seals.
When smelt dipping resumes will depend on the research.
Information from: The Daily News, http://www.tdn.com