Outdoors

Steelhead, salmon fishing opens Sept. 1 on Snake

Tim Wills gets some help from his 10-year-old son, Josh, to land a bright steelhead on Dec. 11, 2010, along the Snake River shoreline several miles upstream from Lower Granite Dam. (Rich Landers)
Tim Wills gets some help from his 10-year-old son, Josh, to land a bright steelhead on Dec. 11, 2010, along the Snake River shoreline several miles upstream from Lower Granite Dam. (Rich Landers)

FISHING — Fishing for steelhead plus the bonus of fishing for expanded daily limits of fall chinook salmon will open Sept. 1 on the Washington portion of the Snake River, officials announced today.

Predicting a strong return of upriver bright chinook salmon, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department fishery managers have expanded the daily catch limit to include three adult hatchery chinook, plus three hatchery jack chinook under 24 inches in length.

Only hatchery salmon and steelhead may be kept.

Anglers may also catch and keep up to three hatchery steelhead, but must stop fishing for the day – for both chinook and steelhead – once they have taken their three-fish steelhead limit.

Read on for the details from the WDFW.

Barbless hooks are required, and any salmon or steelhead not marked as a hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin must be released, along with any chinook salmon under 12 inches.

Open seven days a week, the fishery will extend from beneath the southbound lanes of the Highway 12 Bridge near Pasco to the Oregon state line, approximately 7 miles upstream of the mouth of the Grande Ronde River.

“This fishing opportunity for hatchery chinook salmon is a bonus for anglers during the traditionally productive Snake River steelhead fishery,” said John Whalen, regional fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Whalen said the retention fishery for chinook is expected to extend through Oct. 31, although it could close earlier based on on-going assessments of the run size and catch totals.

Retention of hatchery chinook won’t increase impacts to fish protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, so long as anglers release wild chinook as required, Whalen said. Of the 353,000 upper river brights projected to enter the Columbia River this year, 15,100 are wild fall chinook bound for the Snake River.

For that reason, Whalen reminds anglers to identify their catch, before they remove it from the water. State law prohibits removing chinook salmon or steelhead from the water unless they are retained as part of the daily catch limit.

Whalen advises anglers to check the Fishing in Washington sport fishing pamphlet and watch for updates on the WDFW website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/) on the upcoming fishery.

A portion of the funding to monitor the Snake River fishery comes via funds generated through sale of the Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsements. All anglers fishing for salmon or steelhead on the Columbia and Snake rivers are required to have this endorsement.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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