Spring chinook retention in the Lewis, North Fork Lewis and Kalama rivers will be closed beginning Feb. 15 due to weak runs forecast for 2013.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced the following regulation changes:
• All chinook must be released on the Lewis River downstream of the forks.
• All chinook must be released in the North Fork of the Lewis River from the mouth of the East Fork upstream to the powerlines downstream of Merwin Dam.
• All fishing is closed is closed between Johnson Creek (downstream of Lewis River Salmon Hatchery) and Merwin Dam, including steelhead. Steelhead fishing remains open in the Lewis and the North Fork downstream of Johnson Creek.
• All spring chinook must be released in the Kalama River from the mouth to Kalama Falls Hatchery. Steelhead fishing will remain open.
State biologists are predicting a return of 1,600 spring chinook to the North Fork of the Lewis River and 700 to the Kalama, but some years actual returns are smaller than forecast.
Four hundred-fifty spring chinook are needed for hatchery spawning in the Kalama River and 1,300 in the North Fork of the Lewis.