VANCOUVER, Wash. – Anglers can look forward to catching up to two adult salmon a day this spring on most rivers flowing into the Bonneville Pool, the 46-mile stretch of the Columbia River between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam.
Acting on predictions of strong returns of hatchery spring chinook, state fishery managers set a two-fish daily catch limit for Wind River and Drano Lake, both of which will open for salmon fishing March 16.
The two-fish daily limit will also be in effect on the White Salmon River, where salmon fishing opens on a daily basis April 1.
In all those waters, anglers may keep two spring chinook, two steelhead or one of each. As in past seasons, wild salmon or wild steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be released except on the upper Wind River where any chinook may be retained.
The two-fish daily limits reflect fishery managers’ confidence in this year’s spring chinook run to area rivers, said Pat Frazier, regional fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
An expected return of 36,800 fish to Drano Lake this year would shatter the previous record of 20,600 fish in 2002, Frazier said.
In addition, up to 10,000 spring chinook are predicted to enter the Wind River, more than double last year’s return. Last year, a downturn in run projections prompted WDFW to reduce the limit to one fish on the lower river and close the upper river to all fishing.
“Fishing should be really good on those rivers this year,” Frazier said. “If the pre-season forecasts are correct, we should be able to provide a full season of fishing and still get plenty of fish back for hatchery needs.”
The Klickitat River is the only Bonneville Pool tributary where anglers will be limited to one hatchery-reared salmon or hatchery steelhead per day this season. Like last year, fishery managers expect a poor return to the river – about 1,100 fish – and will limit fishing to Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays when the season opens April 1.
Frazier noted that fishing seasons were established in conjunction with the Yakama Nation, which co-manages area fisheries. “It was a cooperative effort, and we appreciate the Yakama Nation’s work in structuring fishing seasons for everyone’s benefit,” Frazier said.
Specific fishing seasons by area are:
- Wind River from mouth (boundary line/markers) to 400 feet below Shipherd Falls: Open daily from March 16 through June 30.
- Wind River from 100 feet above Shipherd Falls to 400 feet below the coffer dam and from 100 feet above the coffer dam to boundary markers 800 yards downstream of Carson National Fish Hatchery: Open daily for any chinook (adipose fin clipped or not) and hatchery steelhead May 1 through June 30.
- Drano Lake downstream of markers on the point of land across from the Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery and upstream of the Highway 14 Bridge: Open March 16 through June 30, except closed Wednesdays beginning the second Wednesday in April through May.
- White Salmon River from markers on the east and west shores southerly to the buoys upstream to the powerhouse: Open April 1 through June 30.
- White Salmon River from the powerhouse to 400 feet downstream from Northwestern (Condit) Dam: Open April 1 through June 15.
- Klickitat River from mouth to Fisher Hill Bridge (about 2 miles upstream from the mouth): Open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays only from April through May.
Other regulations including gear restrictions and night closures remain unchanged from those found in the Fishing in Washington pamphlet.