OLYMPIA – Three sections of the Snake River will reopen to fishing for hatchery spring chinook salmon, beginning with a stretch of the river near Clarkston later this week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The Clarkston section of the river will be open Friday and Saturday each week beginning June 14-15.
The two other sections of the river that will reopen to spring chinook salmon fishing include a section below Ice Harbor Dam that will be open Monday of each week beginning June 17, and a section near Little Goose Dam that will be open Tuesday of each week beginning June 18.
All three sections will be open on their weekly schedule until further notice.
Glen Mendel, district fish biologist for WDFW, said a recent updated run-size forecast indicates at least 115,000 upriver chinook are now expected to return to the Columbia River this year, up from the previous forecast of 107,500.
“That was enough of an increase to allow for additional fishing opportunities for hatchery spring chinook on the Snake River,” Mendel said. “It’s only a slight increase though, so these opportunities likely will only be available for a week or two.”
WDFW will closely monitor the fishery, which will close when the Snake River harvest allocation is met or allowable impacts on wild stocks reach federal limits, said Mendel.
The daily catch limit for most of the open areas is one hatchery-reared adult chinook salmon – marked with a clipped adipose fin – and four hatchery jacks measuring less than 24 inches.
The exception is the area along the south shoreline of the Little Goose Dam (including “the wall”) upstream to the juvenile-bypass return pipe, where anglers may retain only one adult hatchery chinook salmon and one hatchery jack chinook per day.
In all areas, anglers are required to use barbless hooks, and must stop fishing for the day when they reach their daily limit of adult chinook salmon. All chinook with the adipose fin intact, and all steelhead, must immediately be released unharmed. However, beginning June 16, anglers will be allowed to keep up to three adipose-clipped hatchery steelhead each day.
The three sections of the Snake River reopening for spring chinook fishing are:
- Near Clarkston: (Friday and Saturday) From the intersection of Steptoe Canyon Road with Highway 193 in Whitman County, upriver about 12 miles to the Washington state line (identified as a line from the north end of the rock levee on the east side of the Greenbelt boat launch near the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office), northwest across the Snake River to the Washington border and boundary water marker on the north shore.
- Near Ice Harbor Dam: (Monday) Extends from the Highway 12 Bridge (near Pasco) upstream about seven miles to the fishing restriction boundary below Ice Harbor Dam.
- Near Little Goose Dam: (Tuesday) Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river approximately 3.5 miles upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility and the walkway area locally known as “the wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility.
Mendel strongly encourages anglers to review the fishing rule change, posted on WDFW’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=1319.
General fishing regulations for the Snake River are available in the Fishing in Washington rule pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/).