Outdoors

WDFW needs angler input on Snake spring chinook rules

Spring chinook salmon counts at Little Goose Dam on the Snake River. (Fish Passage Center)
Spring chinook salmon counts at Little Goose Dam on the Snake River. (Fish Passage Center)

FISHING — Anglers have until Monday to comment on proposals geared to helping them get the most out of a very limited spring chinook salmon fishing season being planned for the Snake River in late April and May.

“The 2013 run forecast is low, and following the restrictions of federal Endangered Species Act, the harvest allocation available for the Snake River is just 360 adipose-fin-clipped hatchery adults, at least until the in-season run update is available the first week of May,” says John Whalen, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife regional fisheries manager.

The agency is asking anglers to choose one of three options and let biologists know by email to help them make a decision that will please the most anglers.

Read on for details and the options from WDFW:

With attendance only about 40 at our public meeting in Kennewick on March 27 (which included discussion of this fishery), we want more public input on options developed for the Snake River fishery.

Following are the options and three questions for our fishing public:

As currently proposed, fishing in portions of the Snake River would begin on Friday, April 26, below Ice Harbor Dam (A), and Friday, May 3, for Little Goose Dam area (B), plus one up-river area, either: 1) below Lower Granite Dam (C), or 2) Clarkston area, from the Washington state line down to Steptoe Canyon, excluding boundary waters (D). (These four locations are described below.)

There are three options for this additional fishery:

  1. Open Friday, Apr 26 – Ice Harbor (IHR), and Friday, May 3 — Little Goose (LGO) and one of the upper zone areas (either Lower Granite (LGR) or near Clarkston). This staggered schedule will allow for fish movement into up-river zones. Or, open only IHR and LGO as in the past, but don’t open an up-river zone at all.
  2. Open the two lower zones, IHR and LGO, two days per week and one upper zone either two or three days per week. This additional day in the upper zone will allow for enhanced up-river opportunity as fish move into this area. Using 2-3 day fishing periods will allow for more precise evaluation of harvest level versus available fishery harvest allotment and ESA impact levels, and also promote available fish movement into upper fishery zones.
  3. Open Friday and Saturday at IHR, and Sunday and Monday at LGO and anupper zone. Possibly could alternate days from IHR and upper two zones, but that could significantly limit the response time if a closure is necessary, so closure notice might be very short.

We are requesting public response to three questions, choose A or B for each:

Question 1.

A) Open two areas — IHR and LGO as in the past, but don’t open an up-river zone

B) Open an up-river zone for additional opportunity

 

Question 2.  If an up-river zone is opened:

A) Lower Granite (LGR)

B) Near Clarkston

Question 3.

A) Open fishery two days per week for all open areas

B) Allow three days per week in an upper zone

Responses should be submitted via e-mail, using a subject line of “Spring Chinook Fishery”, to teamspokane@dfw.wa.gov by Monday, April 15, 5 p.m.

 

Snake River location descriptions:

A) Snake River from the South Bound Highway 12 Bridge at Pasco upstream about 7 miles to the fishing restriction boundary below Ice Harbor Dam;

B) Snake River from the railroad bridge approximately ½ mile downstream of Tucannon River mouth, up-river to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam, and from Little Goose Dam to the Corps of Engineers boat launch approximately 1 mile upstream of Little Goose Dam (along the south shoreline). This zone includes the area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (includes the walkway area locally known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility);

Up-River Zones Being Considered

C) Snake River from Casey Creek Canyon Road on the Garfield County shore (approximately 6 miles downstream of Lower Granite Dam) to the fishing restriction boundary downstream of Lower Granite Dam.

D) Snake River from the intersection of Steptoe Canyon Road with the Hwy 193 (Snake River Road) on the Whitman County shore up-river approximately 12 miles to the Idaho state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA / ID boundary marker on the Whitman County shore).




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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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