East Fork Lewis designated wild steelhead gene bank
The East Fork of the Lewis River will become a wild steelhead gene bank with the planting of hatchery-origin winter and summer steelhead ended, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Monday.Steelhead smolts programmed for release in 2014 in the East Fork of the Lewis River will be shifted to Salmon Creek and the Washougal River. Fishing is expected to continue in the East Fork Lewis to catch hatchery fish, which will be returning for at least two more years, said Cindy LeFleur, regional fish program manager for the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Catch-and-release fishing for wild steelhead may be allowed in later years.Salmon Creek will get 20,000 additional winter steelhead, bringing its total to 40,000. The Washougal will get 25,000 additional winter steelhead, bringing the winter total to 85,000. The Washougal will get 10,000 more summer steelhead, making the summer total 70,000.The designation of the East Fork of the Lewis as a wild steelhead gene bank was the unanimous recommendation of the Steelhead Management Work Group, 20-member panel that has been meeting monthly with state fish managers in Southwest Washington since September.