- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Drought conditions are prompting state officials to prohibit or limit fishing on more than 30 rivers across Washington to help protect fish.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Thursday that the closures and restrictions are effective Saturday, until further notice.

Washington’s record low snowpack this winter means there hasn’t been much runoff from snowmelt to replenish streams and rivers this summer, when migrating salmon and other fish need it most.

Fish may get stranded by low river flows, making it harder for them to spawn upstream or migrate to the ocean. They can also be harmed by warm stream temperatures.

“With such extreme drought conditions in several areas of the state, we needed to take these steps to help protect vulnerable fish in waters where we have concerns,” said Craig Burley, fish program manager for the state agency.

He said officials will continue to monitor stream conditions this summer and take further action if needed.

Several rivers across the state will be closed to fishing. They include sections of the Kettle, Touchet, Wenatchee, Teanaway, Skykomish, Samish and Washougal rivers, among others.

Fishing on some rivers will also be limited to between midnight and 2 p.m. to avoid stressing fish during the hotter parts of the day.

Thursday’s decision does not include any rivers in South Puget Sound or on the Olympic Peninsula, though a section of the Sol Duc River was closed earlier this summer to protect returning chinook.

The agency said it will post emergency regulations on its website Friday.

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Online:

WDFW Regulations: https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules

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