The Chronicle –
The news could hardly have been worse for eager smelt dippers anxiously awaiting word on a sport fishery.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is using commercial netting results as a measuring stick that will determine whether recreational smelt dippers will get any opportunity on the Cowlitz River this year. An average haul of 150 pounds per vessel is required to trigger even a limited Cowlitz River opening.
The total haul from that commercial fleet effort early this week? One measly fingerling fish.
That poor result on commercial smelt netting efforts has left the Cowlitz smelt fishery in limbo while common dippers and WDFW officials alike ponder where the fish are.