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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

This document is provided for archival purposes only.
Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

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May 17, 2012
Contact: John Whalen, (509) 892-7861

Lower two Snake River zones closing
early for spring chinook fishing

OLYMPIA – Snake River spring chinook fishing will close one hour after sunset tomorrow (May 18) below Ice Harbor Dam and near Little Goose Dam.

The closure does not affect spring chinook fisheries in the six miles below Lower Granite Dam, or in the Clarkston area. Both will remain open until further notice, according to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) fishery managers.

“Because wild salmon in the run are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, these fisheries must be managed within the ESA guidelines,” said John Whalen, WDFW’s eastern region fish program manager. “Based on the most recent chinook run estimate, the catch rates we are seeing, and the projected harvest, the allowable salmon catch for the Snake River will be reached sooner than we estimated.”

The specific Snake River closure areas are:

  • From the south-bound State Route 12 Bridge at Pasco, upstream about seven miles to the fishing restriction boundary below Ice Harbor Dam.

  • From the railroad bridge about a half-mile below the Tucannon River mouth, up-river to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam, and from Little Goose Dam to the Corps of Engineers’ boat launch a mile upstream of Little Goose Dam on the south shoreline. This closure zone includes the area between the juvenile-fish bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam, along the south shoreline of the facility (including the walkway area known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile-fish collection facility).

Two other Snake River spring chinook fishing locations will remain open until further notice. Angler catch rates will be monitored closely in those zones, and fishing may be closed before May 31, based upon conservation needs, Whalen said.

Snake River areas that will remain open for fishing include:

  • From Casey Creek Canyon Road on the Garfield County shore (approximately six miles downstream of Lower Granite Dam) to the fishing restriction boundary downstream of Lower Granite Dam.

  • From the point in the river next to the intersection of Steptoe Canyon Road and the Wawawai River Road on the Whitman County shore, up-river approximately 12 miles to the Idaho state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch northwest across the Snake River to the state line boundary marker on the Whitman County shore).

In open areas, anglers have a daily limit of six hatchery chinook (with a clipped adipose fin) at least 12 inches in length, including no more than two adult fish. Anglers must stop fishing for the day when the hatchery adult limit has been retained. All chinook with the adipose fin intact, and all steelhead, must be immediately released unharmed.

The exception is in the Little Goose Dam area, between the juvenile-fish bypass return pipe and the dam along the south shoreline (including the walkway area known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile fish collection facility). In that area, only one jack and one adult hatchery chinook may be retained. Anglers must stop fishing once the one allowed adult fish is retained.

Fishers should refer to the WDFW emergency regulation enacted for the Snake River for more specific restrictions in effect for this chinook fishery. Emergency regulations are posted on the WDFW website at

Anglers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. For details on fishing seasons and regulations, check WDFW’s fishing rules pamphlet available at Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules.