Washington to open fishing in May despite steelhead drop

Steelhead fish on the Dungeness. Mike McFadden/Quilcene

SULTAN, Wash. (AP) — Despite concerns from scientists and conservationists, the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife says fishing does not make a large enough impact on wild winter steelhead to delay the fishing season.

The Everett Herald reports the season is scheduled to open May 23. The wild winter steelhead population in the Snohomish watershed has dropped by thousands since the 1980s.

State biologists counted 28 steelhead in 2018 and 55 in 2019 on the Sultan River, a tributary of the Snohomish River. Some biologists and anglers argue delaying the fishing season would help fix the population decrease.

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