YAKIMA--The first sport chinook salmon fishery in the lower Yakima River since 1964 will open Sept. 1, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.
WDFW also announced Grays Harbor (Marine Area 2.2 inside Buoy 13 and outside of river mouth boundaries) also will be open to salmon fishing from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30.
The department also said portions of the Wind River and its tributaries in Skamania County will close to all fishing at 12:01 a.m., Sept. 4
The Yakima chinook season will run through Oct. 31. It will have a two-fish daily limit with selective gear rules in effect for all species. Coho and steelhead must be released.
WDFW biologists said the season was possible because of chinook restoration efforts directed by the Yakama Indian Nation's Tribal Recovery Plan, the Yakima Klickitat Fisheries Project and the state-tribal Wild Salmonid Policy.
"This fishery demonstrates that we can recover our salmon stocks if we work together to give fish what they need," said Bruce Crawford, who heads WDFW's Fish Management Program. "Healthy fish habitat is a critical piece of the recovery formula."
Biologists expect approximately 3,700 Yakima River fall chinook and from 200 to 300 Marion Drain fall chinook to return to the river this fall. Anglers are expected to take approximately 410 fish. WDFW biologists plan to monitor the fishery closely to obtain critical information that will be used in salmon recovery efforts throughout the Columbia River Basin.
During the season, the Yakima River will be open from the mouth at the Highway 240 bridge to the Chandler power house outfall. The outfall is approximately eight miles below Prosser Dam.
Selective fishing gear rules mean only unscented artificial flies or lures with a single barbless hook may be used. Bait is prohibited.
On the Washington coast, Grays Harbor (Marine Area 2.2 inside of Buoy 13 and outside of the river mouth boundaries) will be open for salmon fishing from Sept. 1 to 30. The daily limit is one adult salmon and a maximum of six fish. Unmarked coho and chum must be released. Anglers are limited to use of a single point barbless hook.
WDFW also announced the Wind River and its tributaries upstream of Shipherd Falls will close to all fishing at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 4 until further notice to protect wild steelhead runs.
WDFW biologists have determined runs of wild and hatchery steelhead returning to the river are critically low.
Fishing for hatchery summer steelhead below Shipherd Falls remains open.