OLYMPIA - Anglers fishing for steelhead and other species on the Snake River are reminded that they are required to release any chinook salmon they encounter.
About 300-400 fall chinook were released from the Lyons Ferry Fish Hatchery in southeast Washington last month, because they are surplus to hatchery production needs. More may be released this month.
But those fish are protected as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. Under state fishing rules, anglers are required to release all Snake River fall chinook unharmed.
WDFW raises fall chinook at the hatchery to help recover the population and meet dam-mitigation goals on the Snake River, said Glen Mendel, WDFW fish biologist.
"For hatchery production, we need a good mix of chinook from throughout the run," Mendel said. "We’re releasing some fish collected earlier in the run to make room for those that come in later."
The chinook are being released near Lower Granite and Little Goose dams, depending on where they were collected.
Most of the fish released so far are adult males and jacks, Mendel said. They are being marked for identification by clipping the top or bottom of the tail (caudal) fin.
The tail clip is designed to identify the fish in case they are trapped again, and to learn more about their movements through fish ladders at the Snake River dams, Mendel said.