Longview fishermen concerned over large group of sea lions in lo - KPTV - FOX 12

Longview fishermen concerned over large group of sea lions in local river

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Sea lions began showing up about four weeks ago in the Cowlitz River because of the smelt. (KPTV) Sea lions began showing up about four weeks ago in the Cowlitz River because of the smelt. (KPTV)
LONGVIEW, WA (KPTV) -

A large group of sea lions is drawing a lot of attention in Longview, and some people think they've overstayed their welcome.

Sea lions love fish but fishermen do too and it appears there isn't enough to go around.

The sea lions showed up about four weeks ago in the Cowlitz River and that's because the smelt are running. Locals say they stayed too long last year and it's looking like a repeat this year.

Experts say the influx is because sea lion numbers in general are on the rise, plus there are problems with an adequate food supply in the ocean.

Some locals in Longview say they love the spectacle, but fishermen are fed up.

"It's a safety issue when they're coming up on the beach and you're trying to net a fish and they're trying to take your fish back into the water. I've seen people lose their rods," said Taylor Thomasson.

Experts say spring salmon will be running right behind the smelt, so the sea lions will stay to feed on that too, but they should move along in about two months.

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