FISHING – Washington is opening the Snake River to harvest for fall chinook salmon starting Aug. 18-Oct. 31, the Fish and Wildlife Department has announced. Here are details from WDFW:
Locations: The Snake River from the mouth (Burbank-to-Pasco railroad bridge at Snake River mile 1.25) to the Oregon state line (approximately seven miles upstream of the mouth of the Grande Ronde River).
Reason for action: The 2017 Columbia River forecasted return of upriver bright adults is 260,000, with a significant portion of these fish expected to return to the Snake River. Retention of hatchery fall chinook is not expected to increase impacts to ESA-listed wild fall chinook. Therefore, hatchery fall chinook, marked by a clipped adipose fin, and all jack chinook over 12 inches can be retained in the Snake River.
Daily limits: The salmon daily harvest limit is six (6) hatchery (adipose fin-clipped) fall chinook adults (24 inches in length and larger) and 6 clipped or unclipped jack fall chinook (less than 24 inches). Minimum size for chinook that can be retained in the Snake River is 12 inches. Anglers must cease fishing for salmon and steelhead once they have retained their daily limit of either steelhead or adult salmon.
Other information: The fishery is open seven days per week. Adipose fin-clipped fish must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin. All adult chinook and steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must be immediately released unharmed. WDFW is requiring that all Washington licensed anglers cease fishing for the day once they have retained their daily limit of either steelhead or adult salmon as a method to reduce catch and release mortality on steelhead. In addition, anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing for chinook or steelhead in the Snake River. Anglers cannot remove any chinook or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit. Anglers should be sure to identify their catch because returning unmarked chinook salmon, coho salmon and steelhead are also in the Snake River during this fishery.
Snake River is closed to steelhead fishing from Bridge St. Bridge in Clarkston to the Oregon/Idaho Border. WDFW is working with Idaho Fish and Game to set a steelhead fishery on this section of the river by Sept. 1.
Low returns of steelhead have been predicted for the Snake River and tributaries for this return year. Low adult steelhead abundance may create the need for fishery closures to minimize angling impacts. Anglers should continue to check emergency regulations for new and changing seasons.