OLYMPIA – An unexpectedly large return of fall chinook salmon will lead to an increase in daily bag limits in the Hanford Reach area of the Columbia River beginning Friday (Sept. 27), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The revised bag limit for chinook will go from two to four adult fish for the remainder of the season on the Columbia River, from the Highway 395 bridge at Pasco upstream to the Priest Rapids Dam. The total daily bag limit remains at six salmon, no more than four of which may be adults and no more than two of which may be coho. The minimum size is 12 inches.
The adult fall chinook count at McNary Dam reached 109,132 as of Monday, more than twice the 10-year average total annual return of 53,341 fish.
With five more weeks of fish counts remaining, the projected final McNary Dam tally is 140,000 adult chinook, far above the minimum objective of 43,500 fish. That management objective includes spawning escapement goals for the upper Columbia River, the Hanford Reach and the Yakima and Snake rivers as well as providing for expected sport harvest in the Hanford Reach.
The recreational salmon fishing season on the Hanford Reach ends on Oct. 22 upstream from the old Hanford town site, and ends Dec. 31 in the section of the river from the town site downstream to the Highway 395 bridge.