The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has opened fishing of salmon in Willapa Bay tributaries with scheduled salmon seasons, except the Naselle River.

The Salmon daily limit is 6 fish, up to 2 adults may be retained, and no more than 1 adult may be a wild coho. Release all chinook. Rivers affected include the Bear River; Fork Creek; Middle Nemah River; North Nemah River; South Nemah River; North River; Smith Creek; Willapa River; Willapa River; South Fork.

The new rule is in effect Oct. 1 until further notice.

WDFW previously closed these areas to salmon fishing to protect fall chinook, which were returning in lower numbers than expected. Over the past week, active brood stocking efforts conducted by hatchery staff and volunteers have been significantly increased, making it likely that hatchery production goals for fall chinook will be met on the Willapa and Nemah river systems. Additionally, the proportion of females in the broodstock collected in these systems is higher than expected.

Returns of fall chinook needed for hatchery production in the Naselle River system are still short of the production goal. The Naselle River will remain closed to salmon fishing.

Retention of fall chinook is prohibited in all fisheries in the Willapa Bay watershed as a conservation measure in order to focus harvest opportunity on coho.