RIDGEFIELD — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will temporarily close the County Line Water Access Area along the Washougal River in Clark County from Aug. 20 through Oct. 15. Prior to this closure, the water access area will have limited afternoon hours for public access starting Aug. 3.
WDFW staff will be on site Aug. 3 to Aug. 19 with heavy equipment to install and begin operation of a fish weir, a type of infrastructure used to capture salmon and steelhead as they swim upstream. During this time of active construction and initial operations, public access will be limited to the hours of 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., daily.
Starting Aug. 20, WDFW staff will begin working longer hours at the weir as increasing numbers of salmon and steelhead return to spawn. The water access area will be closed to the public for two months to protect returning fish and ensure staff can physically distance while working.
As fish enter the weir, biologists release steelhead and wild salmon back to the river and transfer hatchery Chinook salmon into a tanker truck that takes them upstream to the Washougal Salmon Hatchery, where technicians process the fish and their eggs.
The fish weir helps keep hatchery Chinook salmon from competing with wild fish for sensitive gravel spawning areas along the upper Washougal River so wild salmon populations have the habitat they need to recover.