FISHING — Inland anglers seeking big fish running upstream from the ocean kick into another gear on Sunday (Sept. 1).
Click “continue reading” for details on salmon and and steelhead fisheries in Washington and Idaho from the Snake River upstream.
Washington fall chinook, steelhead:
Starting Sept. 1, anglers will be able to catch and keep hatchery fall chinook salmon on the Snake River in Washington.
State fishery managers are predicting another strong return of upriver bright chinook salmon to the Snake River this year and have expanded the daily catch limit to include three adult hatchery chinook, plus six hatchery jack chinook under 24 inches in length.
Anglers may also catch and keep up to three hatchery steelhead, but must stop fishing for the day for both hatchery chinook and steelhead once they have taken their three-fish steelhead limit. The retention season for hatchery steelhead on the Snake River opened on Jun. 16 this year.
While fishing for chinooks is closed at night in other areas of Washington, state rules on the Snake River will allow anglers to fish for salmon 24 hours a day, said John Whalen, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department regional fisheries manager.
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.
The fishery will be open seven days a week and will extend from beneath the southbound lanes of the Highway 12 Bridge near Pasco upriver 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,” Whalen said
The retention fishery for chinook is expected to extend through Oct. 31, although it could close earlier based on ongoing 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 434,600 upriver bright chinook salmon projected to enter the Columbia River this year, 31,600 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.
Idaho fall chinook seasons open Sept. 1
A fall Chinook salmon fishing season on parts of the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers opens Sunday, September 1.
The Clearwater River, from its mouth upstream to Memorial Bridge in Lewiston; and the Salmon River, from its mouth upstream about three-fourths of a mile to Eye of the Needle Rapids, will be open from September 1 until further notice or October 31, whichever comes first.
The Snake River, from the Washington-Idaho border upstream to Cliff Mountain Rapids, a little less than a mile downstream of Hells Canyon Dam, will be open from September 1 until further notice or October 31, and the section from Cliff Mountain Rapids to Hells Canyon Dam, will be open from September 1 until further notice or November 17.
The daily bag limit is six adult Chinook salmon, the possession limit is 18 adult Chinook, and there is no season limit on adult Chinook. Only adipose-fin-clipped salmon may be kept.
Only adult Chinook must be recorded on the angler's salmon permit. There are no limits on jacks, but anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and salmon permit to fish for salmon. Anglers who fill their salmon permit must purchase an additional permit before continuing to fish for salmon.
Idaho opening steelheading on Snake, Salmon, Little Salmon
The fall steelhead harvest season opens Sunday, September 1, on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.
Snake River is open from the Washington State line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
Salmon River is open from its mouth upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of Sawtooth Hatchery.
Little Salmon River is open from its mouth upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder road.
The limits on these waters are three per day and nine in possession.
The harvest season already is open on a two-mile stretch of the lower Clearwater River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge near Lewiston.
The limits on the Clearwater are two per day and six in possession.
Rest of Clearwater and the Middle Fork, North Fork and South Fork Clearwater rivers are open for catch-and-release only until October 15, when the harvest season in those sections opens.
Anglers may keep 20 steelhead for the fall season, which ends December 31. Only steelhead with a clipped adipose fin, evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. Any steelhead that has an intact adipose fin must be released unharmed.