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I believe the issue with the Quinault was that the section of the river referred to in the article is within the National Park, and Park Policy makes fishing for native char (Dolly Varden/bull trout) illegal under the ESA.

I don't think it's illegal everywhere to fish for char. The US Fish and Wildlife Service enforces the ESA for bull trout, listed as threatened. (It is apparently impossible to scientifically differentiate between bull trout and Dollies, so they are managed as one species. Bull trout and Dolly Varden both have anadromous AND resident forms in western Washington.) When USFWS listed bull trout, they determined that WDFW's existing fishing regulations were adequately conservative, and approved them under the ESA. Since then, WDFW may have tightened up their regs, but at the time lots of water around the state was open for bull trout/Dollies, and likely still is, particularly in some parts of the Cascades and in north Puget Sound, where WDFW says char are doing well (doesn't mean it's true), but at any rate, there's probably no reason to fish water that's closed.

I think it would be a stretch to call WDFW overly conservative on harvest regulations, so when they do actually close a water body, it's probably overdue.
 
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