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Snake River fall chinook season opens Sept. 1

SALMON FISHING – Starting Sept. 1, anglers will be able to catch and keep hatchery fall chinook salmon on the Snake River in Washington, the Fish and Wildlife Department has announced.

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.

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,” 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 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.

Check the Fishing in Washington rule pamphlet and watch for updates on the WDFW website.

Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishing to close

FISHING — Sockeye salmon fishing at Lake Wenatchee will close Sunday after sunset, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has just announced.   Here are the details:

Closure goes into effect:  Aug. 18, 2013, one hour after official sunset.

Reason for action: Officials estimate that sockeye available for harvest (those in excess of the natural spawning escapement goal of 23,000 fish) will have been caught and removed from the lake by the end of Sunday.

Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishing almost too fast

SALMON FISHING — A note from one of my blog readers indicates the sockeye fishing has been great at Lake Wenatchee.

Thank you for your article on the Lake Wenatchee Sockeye Opener last week.

I took my 87 year old uncle out on Saturday, and we limited by 6:45am.

It was so good, I took my sister and her two kids out on Sunday, and we limited by 7:45am.

The funny thing was, we live in the Everett area, so we drove almost 2 hours to get there, fished for 2 hours, then drove 2 hours to get home.

It was a blast!!!

I am having a very hard time finding sockeye counts at Tumwater dam.  Can you please tell me how I can find these counts?

I know fishing dwindles with the counts, and I don’t want to make the long drive and not catch fish.

I would appreciate any information you can share, websites, phone numbers, anything.  Thanks so much.

— Tad Kasuya

Although the information is not updated as often as anglers would like in season, counts for sockeye heading up the Wenatchee River to Lake Wenatchee are available here, courtesy of WDFW and Chelan PUD’s Tumwater Dam fishway.

Top 10 shoreline fishing spots for pink salmon

SALMON FISHING — With a whopping 6.2 million pink salmon flooding into the Puget Sound saltwater this month en route to river spawning areas, anglers can catch their four-fish limits from a boat or from shore.

Seattle Times fishing writer Mark Yuasa compiled his list of top 10 shoreline fishing spots for pink salmon:

1. Lincoln Park in West Seattle (best is starting in mid-August)

2. Browns Point Lighthouse Park in Tacoma (mid-to-late August)

3. Dash Point Pier (mid-to-late August)

4. Picnic Point in Edmonds (early August to September)

5. Deception Pass shoreline (now through September)

6. Bush Point and Fort Casey off west side of Whidbey Island (now through September)

7. Point Wilson north of Port Townsend (end of this month through August)

8. Bait Box Hole off the south east side of Whidbey Island (early August through September)

9. Redondo Pier (mid-to-late August)

10. Pier 86 Terminal Pier and Spokane Street Bridge in Elliott Bay (mid-August through September)

Alaska fishing guides tie knot in salmon stream

FISHING — Whether you're talking to the bride or the groom, in this case, it's appropriate to say, “Nice catch.”

Alaska fishing guides Kadie Walsh and Dake Schmidt exchanged vows Saturday in the middle of Kodiak Island's Buskin River.

The fishing-themed ceremony included rings carried in the mouths of king salmon, a wedding party carrying fly fishing rods, and the married couple catching a pair of pink salmon together. 

A wedding during the humpy run:  perfect timing!

Click “continue reading,” and see the captions with a great selection of photos by James Brooks of the Kodiak Daily Mirror for more details, none of which answer the compelling question:

When you have a wedding in a place like like this, how do you top it for a honeymoon? 

Westport anglers allowed 2 chinook starting Sunday

SALMON FISHING — Starting Sunday, Aug. 4, anglers fishing in ocean waters off Westport can keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit.

With that change, anglers will be allowed to keep two chinook per day in ocean waters off Westport (Marine Area 2), LaPush (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4). Those fishing Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) will continue to be limited to one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit.

All ocean areas are open to salmon fishing seven days a week. Wild coho must be released in all four areas.

Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the department previously limited anglers off Westport to one chinook as part of a two-salmon daily limit to ensure that the fisheries would remain open for the entire season.

“Fishing for chinook out of Westport has been really good recently, and we’re keeping a close watch on the pace of the catch.  It appears now that enough of the quota for the Westport area remains to allow anglers two chinook per day,” Pattillo said.

Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 30 in marine areas 1 and 2, and through Sept. 22 in marine areas 3 and 4.

Pattillo said fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery throughout the season and will announce any other changes on WDFW’s website.

Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum size limits and area catch guidelines, is available in the WDFW Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet.

Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishing opens Aug. 3

FISHING — A sockeye fishery for Lake Wenatchee has just been announced, and it will open Saturday (Aug. 3).

Washington Fish and Wildlife officials say enough fish are moving into the Chelan County lake to allow a season with a limit of two sockeye, 12 inches in length or greater.

More than 27,000 fish have made passage at Tumwater Dam on the Wenatchee River. About 30,000 total sockeye are projected with 7,000 estimated to be available for harvest above the natural spawning escapement goal of 23,000 fish. 

The fishery could be closed on short notice depending on how the run develops and the success of anglers.

Other information: 

  • Selective gear rules (up to three single barbless hooks per line, no bait or scent allowed, knotless nets required) in effect.
  • A night closure will be in effect. 
  • All sockeye with a floy (anchor) tag attached and/or one or more round ¼ inch in diameter holes punched in the caudal (tail) fin must be released.  These fish are essential to ongoing studies being conducted by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • Bull trout, steelhead, and Chinook salmon must be released unharmed without removing the fish from the water. 
  • Two-pole endorsement is not valid for this fishery.  
  • Anglers must have a current Washington fishing license as well as a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement (CRSSE). Revenue from the CRSSE supports salmon or steelhead seasons on many rivers in the Columbia River system, including enforcing fishery regulations and monitoring the upper Columbia River steelhead fisheries. The endorsement has generated more than $1 million annually for WDFW to maintain and increase fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River basin.

NOTE:   The Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishery may be closed on short notice depending on participation and catch rates.  Anglers are advised to check the fishing hotline at 360-902-2500 or Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website daily.

Westport salmon fishing to open daily

SALMON FISHING — Beginning Friday (July 19), marine waters off of Westport (Marine Area 2) will be open to salmon fishing seven days a week, joining the three other ocean areas already open on a daily basis, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced.
The department initially limited the number of fishing days at Westport to five a week (Sundays through Thursdays) to ensure that the catch would not reach the quota too quickly and require an early closure, said Pat Pattillo, department salmon policy coordinator.
“Angler effort continues to grow and success rates are steadily improving,” Pattillo said. “While the fishery continues to build at this pace, now is a good time to allow anglers to fish daily off Westport.”
Salmon fishing already is open seven days a week in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay).
  • Anglers fishing in marine areas 1 and 2 may retain two salmon per day, only one of which may be a chinook. Those fishing in marine areas 3 and 4 are allowed to retain up to two chinook as part of their two-fish daily limit, plus two additional pink salmon.
  • In all four marine areas, anglers must release wild coho salmon.
Click here for information on daily catch limits, minimum size limits and area catch guidelines.
Ocean salmon fisheries are scheduled to continue through Sept. 22 in marine areas 3 and 4 and through Sept. 30 in marine areas 1 and 2.
Fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery throughout the season, and will announce any other changes on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/

Idaho fall chinook seasons open Sept. 1

FISHING —  Idaho's fall chinook salmon fishing seasons will open Sept. 1 on parts of the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers according to these rules adopted today by the state Fish and Game Commission:

  • Clearwater River, from its mouth upstream to Memorial Bridge; 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.
  • Snake River, from the Washington-Idaho border upstream to Cliff Mountain Rapids, a little less than a mile downstream of Hells Canyon Dam, also will be open from September 1 until further notice or October 31.
  • Snake River, 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 a salmon permit to fish for salmon.

Sekiu fishing resort marks 80th anniversary

FISHING – Olson’s Resort at Sekiu, Wash., well-known for harboring salmon anglers venturing out on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, is celebrating it’s 80th anniversary this weekend.

How?  With a July 6 fishing derby, of course.

Sockeye run downsized, but good fishing expected

FISHING — This year's sockeye run to the upper Columbia River is about a third the size of the 2012 run, but don't let that discourage you.

Last year's return of more than 500,000 sockeye was a record to behold.

This year's estimate of about 155,000 still offers plenty of opportunity. (The run forecast was lowered from 180,000 on Monday)

The sockeye are coming over Bonneville Dam at the rate of 4,000-7,000 a day, totaling 121,750 so far.

  • 32,084 have moved over Priest Rapids Dam.
  • 19,947 over Wanapum Dam.
  • 12,947 over Rock Island Dam.
  • 7,699 over Rocky Reach Dam.
  • 3,380 over Wells Dam.

The catch and keep season on much of the river opened Monday with anothe stretch to open July 16.

See this story by Rob Phillips of Yakima for some good tips toward getting on top of this fishery, especially for anglers with boats.

In a forecast revision released on Monday, federal, state and tribal fish managers predict 60,000 summer kings will return to the mouth of the Columbia River this season.

Sockeye season to open July 1 on upper Columbia

FISHING — Sockeye will be fair game in the upper Columbia River and some a portion of the Okanogan starting Monday, according to this anouncement posted today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Action:Allow retention of sockeye salmon from Priest Rapids Dam upstream to Chief Joseph Dam, including a portion of the lower Okanogan River

Effective dates and locations:

  • July 1, 2013 until further notice from Priest Rapids Dam to Wells Dam
  • July 16, 2013 until further notice from Wells Dam to Hwy 173 Bridge in Brewster
  • July 1, 2013 until further notice from Hwy 173 Bridge in Brewster to Chief Joseph Dam
  • July 1, 2013 until further notice from mouth of Okanogan River upstream to the first Highway 97 Bridge

Species affected:Sockeye salmon

Reason for action:Recent estimates of Okanogan sockeye are predicted to be adequate to allow for an anticipated low level (3,000-4,000) of angler harvest.

Other angler information:

  • Daily limit six (6) salmon.
  • No more than (2) adult hatchery chinook salmon and two (2) adult sockeye salmon may be retained in daily limit.
  • Minimum size for adult chinook salmon is 24 inches.
  • Minimum size for adult sockeye salmon is 12 inches.
  • Anglers must stop fishing once adult salmon limit has been harvested.
  • Barbless hooks required, bait is allowed.
  • Anglers may fish with two poles with two pole endorsement.
  • Anglers are reminded that salmon with floy tags and/or one or more holes (round, approximately ¼” in diameter) punched in the tail must be released.
  • Anglers must have a current Washington fishing license as well as a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement (CRSSE). Revenue from the CRSSE supports salmon or steelhead seasons on many rivers in the Columbia River system, including enforcing fishery regulations and monitoring the upper Columbia River steelhead fisheries. The endorsement has generated more than $1 million annually for WDFW to maintain and increase fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River basin.

Spring chinook fishing closes on Snake

FISHING — The Washington Fish and Wildlife commission has closed spring chinook salmon fishing on the Snake River.  Here's the announcement posted this afternoon:

Action: Closes spring chinook fishing on the Snake River.

Effective date: Immediately

Species affected: Spring chinook

Location:

Near Ice Harbor Dam: Below Ice Harbor Dam from the Highway 12 bridge near Pasco upstream about seven miles to about 400 feet below Ice Harbor Dam.

Near Little Goose Dam: Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river approximately 3.5 miles upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility and the walkway area locally known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility.

Near Clarkston: From the intersection of Steptoe Canyon Road with Highway 193 in Whitman County, upriver about 12 miles to the Idaho state line (identified as a line from the north end of the rock levee on the east side of the Greenbelt boat launch near the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office), northwest across the Snake River to the Washington border and boundary water marker on the north shore.

Reason for action: Based on the declining spring chinook run, catch rates and cumulative season harvest estimates in the three fishery zones on the Snake River through this past Tuesday, and fishery ESA impact limitations, this fishery will close. 

Spring chinook fishing closes today on Icicle River

FISHING — The Icicle River's fishing season for spring chinook salmon closes today an hour after sunset.  

Read on for the details pertaining the closure of the Chelan County fishery from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Idaho approves spring chinook fishing on South Fork Salmon

FISHING — Chinook salmon fishing on the South Fork Salmon River will open July 5 under a season adopted this morning by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

Fishing will be open only Fridays, Saturday and Sundays until further notice. Managers anticipate a shorter fishery on the South Fork because fewer fish are returning to Idaho than in recent years.

The South Fork will be open from the bridge on Forest Service Road 48 (Lick Creek/ East Fork South Fork Road) where it crosses the South Fork Salmon River main stem just upstream of the confluence with the East Fork South Fork Salmon River, upstream about 35 river miles to a posted boundary about 100 yards downstream from the Idaho Fish and Game South Fork Salmon River weir and trap.

Fishing hours will be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time.

The daily bag limit will be four Chinook salmon, only two of which may be adults; the possession limit is 12 Chinook salmon, only six of which may be adults.

Adult Chinook salmon are 24 or more inches in length, and jacks are less than 24 inches in length. Only adipose-fin-clipped salmon may be kept.

The season-statewide limit is 10 adult Chinook salmon during salmon seasons occurring before September 1, 2013.

Spring chinook fishing may reopen in Snake, WDFW bio says

FISHING — Snake River spring chinook fishing is likely to reopen says Glen Mendel, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fish management biologist

Look for an official announcement today or tomorrow — and expect the fishing days to be different that in the original season.

Here's Mendel's update:

The Technical Advisory Committee updated the run size to 115,000 (from 107,500 when the Snake R fishery previously closed at Clarkston).   The increased run size means there are a few more spring Chinook (~70) that can be harvested in the revised allotment for the Snake River. 

A fishery proposal has been submitted for the Clarkston area to reopen for two days (this Friday and Saturday).  Ice Harbor would open for one day next week (on Monday), and Little Goose on Tuesday.  Mid next week, we would evaluate the results from those limited fisheries and determine whether they had to close, or whether they could continue on the same days as noted above the following week.  Bag limits would be as they were in May (1 adult adipose clipped, and 4 adipose clipped jacks).  Once the hatchery adult salmon has been retained the angler must stop fishing for salmon, regardless of whether any jacks have been kept.

Please watch for the emergency regulation and news release that announces the opening of these fisheries.  Hopefully, those will be available late today or tomorrow. 

Upper Klickitat opening to spring chinook fishing

FISHING — Spring chinook action is luring anglers to the Klickitat.  Here the WDFW announcement many have been waiting for.

Upper Klickitat River to open for hatchery adult spring chinook

Action: Up to two hatchery adult spring chinook may be kept as part of the salmon daily limit on the Klickitat River upstream to boundary markers below the salmon hatchery.  

Effective dates: June 13 through July 31, 2013.

Species affected: Chinook.

Location: The Klickitat River from 400 feet upstream from #5 fishway (located about one-half mile upstream from the Fisher Hill Bridge) to boundary markers below the Klickitat Salmon Hatchery.

Reasons for action: As of June 10, a total of 351 adult spring chinook have returned to the Klickitat Salmon Hatchery.  The Klickitat Salmon Hatchery is expected to meet its escapement goal of 500 fish, which will allow additional recreational opportunity.    

Other information: Daily limit 6 salmon of which no more than two may be adults.  Wild chinook must be released.   This will match rules already in effect below Fisher Hill Bridge (located about 2 miles upstream from the mouth). 

Anglers are reminded there are closed waters from Fisher Hill Bridge to 400 feet upstream from #5 fishway and from the boundary markers below Klickitat Salmon Hatchery to the boundary markers just upstream of the hatchery. The section upstream from the salmon hatchery remains closed to fishing for salmon.

A Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement is required to participate in this fishery.  Barbless hooks are required to fish for salmon and steelhead.

Information contact:   (360) 696-6211.  For latest information press *1010.  

Idaho reopening Little Salmon for spring chinook

FISHING — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission today voted to reopen the Little Salmon River to fishing for Chinook salmon effective Friday, June 7.

  • The Clearwater, North Fork Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater and South Fork Clearwater rivers are closed to Chinook salmon fishing, effective immediately.
The Little Salmon will open from a posted boundary about 50 yards upstream of the Little Salmon River mouth to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.
 
The season is open only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until further notice. Fishing hours are from 5:05 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Mountain Standard Time.
 
The daily limit is four Chinook salmon, only two of which may be adults; the possession limit is 12 Chinook salmon, only six of which may be adults. The statewide season limit is 10 adult Chinook during any salmon seasons occurring before September 1, 2013.
 
Any adipose fin-clipped Chinook salmon 24 or more inches in total length is an adult. Jacks are less than 24 inches in length. Only adipose-fin-clipped Chinook may be kept.
 
For details about open areas and limits in these fisheries see the Fish and Game website.

Extending spring chinook season priority in Idaho

FISHING — Here's the latest news for Idaho spring chinook anglers regarding the status of the season — just received via email from Joe DuPont, Idaho Fish and Game regional fisheries manager in Lewiston:

The majority of anglers have repeatedly told us that the most important thing to them regarding the Chinook season is to extend the season as long as possible.  For this reason, we have decided to make some rules changes to the Chinook salmon rules on the Salmon River.  

Starting on Monday morning (June 3, 2013), between the Time Zone Bridge and Shorts Creek (Park Hole Area), no harvest of adults will be allowed.  You will still be allowed to harvest up to 4 Jacks (< 24 inches) daily in this reach of river. 

The area that will be closed to the harvest of adults includes the entire reach of the Salmon River from Time Zone Bridge to the posted sign at Shorts Creek.   This reach includes popular holes such as Race Creek, the Park Hole, the Post Office Hole, the Confluence, the Mill Hole, Shorts Creek and anything in between. 

Our hopes are that with these new rules we can extend the season for at least 2 more weekends.  Only time will tell just how long the season lasts. 

I know for some of you who like to fish the Park Hole area, you may not be happy with these changes.  Recognize, however, that with these rules it may provide a unique experience where you can fish in less crowded conditions in an area with high catch rates, and if you eventually want to catch an adult there are other areas you can go to fish. 

It is important to realize that if you catch one adult in another reach of river where adult harvest is allowed, you cannot have this fish in close possession and fish the Park Hole.    In other words, if you catch 1 adult (remember if you catch 2 adults you are done fishing for the day) and you want to fish the Park Hole do not bring that fish near the Park Hole where one could assume you caught it there.  Drop if off at camp, at your home, or someplace away from where you are fishing. 

The rules in all other areas in the Clearwater Region have not changed through this weekend.  

“There is no season limit on jacks,” he said.

Wash. on verge of closing Snake River chinook fishing

FISHING — Anglers picked up enough spring chinook from the Snake River sections open to fishing in Washington over the holiday to prompt the closing of the season, which could be announced soon.

Here's the message from Glen Mendel, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife southeast fisheries biologist:

We saw more interest in fishing the Clarkston area than we had documented in any of the previous weeks, and they caught a few fish there.  This fishery remained open after the lower Snake River fisheries closed because they had not caught much earlier, they were cut off early last year so we wanted to improve the sharing of the fishing opportunities, and because there were only about 30 fish left to harvest.  One day of either of the lower Snake River fisheries would likely have harvested more than 30 fish in just one day of fishing. 

The total Snake River harvest brings us very close to our targeted harvest level, so we are recommending closure of the Snake River fishery at Clarkston.  Therefore, we expect that it will be closed for spring Chinook harvest until next year (about late April).  Watch for the emergency regulation that verifies closure of this fishery.

Note: Steelhead fishing on the Snake River starts June 16 this year, earlier for retention than in the past.

Spring chinook angling hot in Idaho

FISHING — Anglers had very good success rates for spring chinook in Idaho waters upstream from Lewiston last week with catch rates below 10/hrs a fish in the Clearwater, Salmon and Snake rivers. 

Check out the following detailed Clearwater Region salmon update for the week of May 20-27, by Joe DuPont, Idaho Fish and Game's regional fisheries manager in Lewiston: 

First, the majority of Chinook destined for release sites in the Clearwater Region appear to have mostly passed over Lower Granite Dam.  Some Chinook are stuck behind a couple of the dams.  Once these fish figure their way out, Idaho's harvest shares should go up some, but not a lot.  We are estimating that our harvest share for the Clearwater River will end up around 600 fish.  

Clearwater River drainage (only the harvest of Jacks are allowed):  The most Jacks were harvested in the Clearwater River near Dworshak Hatchery although the best catch rates (3 hrs/fish) occurred near Kooskia Hatchery in the Middle Fork Clearwater River (a lot of adults were caught and released there). We are very close to our harvest share of adults in the Clearwater River.  We still have some harvest share remaining so the fishery will remain open with the same rules this coming weekend as we had last week.  (Open Friday – Monday; Jacks only; Jack limit 4; same areas open to fishing).  Harvest this coming weekend and how much the harvest share changes will dictate how long the season will remain open.  

Salmon River area fishing was very good as well last week.  Early in the week most fish were being harvested downstream of Time Zone Bridge; however, by the weekend fishing picked up considerably in Park Hole (between Time Zone Bridge and Shorts Creek).  People are now reporting that fishing is good in both the Park Hole and  Little Salmon River.  With good flow conditions and a bunch of adults reaching the Riggins area, I expect fishing to be excellent this week.  It would not be unexpected if over 1,000 adults were harvested this week.  The only thing I could see that would slow down the fishery is if it rained like crazy and muddied up the river. 

Now is the time to fish the Rapid River run.  Due to the expected high harvest, we are currently having discussions on how to prolong this fishery and make sure we don’t go over our harvest share in the future.

Hells Canyon fishery was also very good with catch rates running at 7 hrs/fish.   Our anticipated harvest share for this fishery is 336 fish, and last week we estimated we harvested 132 adults bringing the total adult harvest to 183 fish.  I expect another good week of fishing at Hells Canyon Dam.

Idaho clarifies Clearwater chinook season changes

FISHING — Here's an update to with more and clearer details regarding my earlier post on Idaho's decision to close fishing for adult spring chinook salmon in the Clearwater River.  This was just released from Idaho Fish and Game's Lewiston office.

Tuesday, May 21, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game closed the lower Clearwater River from the Camas Prairie Railroad Bridge in Lewiston to the Cherrylane Bridge to all salmon fishing.  The other sections of the Clearwater previously open to salmon fishing will remain open for harvest of jack salmon four days per week, Friday through Monday. 

Sections of the Clearwater River basin that remain open to jacks-only harvest include:

  • The mainstem Clearwater:  From Lenore Bridge to Greer Bridge
  • The North Fork Clearwater River:  From the mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam excluding the perimeter of the Dworshak National Hatchery at Ahsahka.  Fishing from any watercraft is prohibited.
  • The Middle Fork Clearwater:  From the mouth of the South Fork Clearwater River upstream to the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers.
  • The South Fork Clearwater:  From its mouth upstream to the confluence of the American and Red rivers.

Anglers are not be allowed to retain adult Chinook salmon anywhere in the Clearwater basin, but can continue to retain four adipose fin-clipped  salmon less than 24 inches total length (jacks), per day.  Jack salmon count against the daily limit but need not be recorded on the salmon permit. There is no season limit for jacks.

Jacks are salmon that return after one year in the ocean.  They are relatively abundant this year, are not necessary in the brood stock and are all available for harvest.  Managers estimate that over 2000 jacks returning to hatcheries in the Clearwater River will be available for harvest by sport anglers.

Fishery managers had consistently predicted that a relatively small number of adult hatchery Chinook salmon would return to the Clearwater River in 2013 and that over 50 percent would be needed to fill the hatchery brood stock quota.  With the support of the public, managers structured a conservative fishery framework that allowed fishing four days per week with a daily limit of one adult Chinook salmon per day.  The hatchery fish available for harvest are shared with Tribal fishers, resulting in less than 25 percent of the hatchery adults available for the sport fishery.  Excellent fishing conditions and a pulse of fish moving through the lower Clearwater River resulted in the sport fishery achieving the harvest objective more quickly than expected.

Salmon fisheries on the Snake, lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers remain unchanged at this time.

  • See Idaho Fish and Game's updates on seasons and limits here.
  • See an interactive map of river segments open to Chinook fishing.

Spring chinook, steelhead fishing to reopen on lower Columbia River

 

FISHING — The sport fishery for hatchery spring chinook salmon and hatchery steelhead will reopen Saturday (May 25) on the lower Columbia River as fish mangers get a better bead on the run and more fish become available in the season quota.

The fishery is scheduled to run through June 15 from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line near the mouth of the river to the deadline below Bonneville Dam under an agreement reached today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon. For boat anglers, the upriver boundary is Beacon Rock.

Anglers may retain one adult hatchery chinook salmon as part of their daily limit.

Read on for more details.

Springer fishing closed in 2 of 3 Snake River zones

FISHING — Salmon fishing on the Snake River has been closed in the lower two spring chinook fishery zones near Ice Harbor and Little Goose, but will remain open in the Clarkston area.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department issued the notice today at 4:20 p.m.

The closure affects Zones A and B:

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

Zone B)  Below Little Goose:  Snake River from Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to Little Goose Dam.  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).

Fishing will still be allowed in Zone C: Open May 19 and 20, and then open two days per week (Sunday and Monday) until further notice.

Zone C)  Clarkston:  Snake River from the intersection of Steptoe Canyon Road with the Wawawai River Road on the Whitman County shore upriver approximately 12 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA/ID boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).

Read on for more details.

Idaho spring chinook bite coming on

FISHING — The long-term news is not great, but in the short term anglers should be prepared this weekend to take advantage of spring chinook streaming into Idaho waters.

  • Fish have already started showing up at most Idaho salmon hatcheries. 
  • A couple adult chinook were caught all the way upstream at Hells Canyon Dam last week.
  • PIT-tag arrays indicate fish are beginning to move into the South Fork Clearwater River.  
  • Jacks, which are coming in big numbers, have started hitting the Clearwater River.

Joe DuPont, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager just posted an update on all the details. In addition to the above details, he gives the sobering news that last week's surge of salmon hundreds of miles downstream into the mouth of the Columbia has pooped out. 

As the Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners prepare to set chinook seasons during a Thursday meeting in Coeur d'Alene, read on for some of the data they'll be working with, as summarized by DuPont:

Icicle River opening to spring chinook fishing

FISHING — Starting Saturday, anglers will be able to catch fin-clipped spring chinook in the Icicle River, according to season announcement just issued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Read on for all the details.

Snake spring chinook fishing decent; seasons iffy

SALMON — Fishing for spring chinook on the selected open stretches of the Snake River in Washington was good this week, except that Monday afternoon the weather changed and blew a lot of folks off the water, reports Glen Mendel, state Snake River fisheries biologist.

Anglers must check the rules carefully and stay tuned.

The Snake River has taken most of its harvest allocation, Mendel said in an email a few minutes ago.

The lower two zones (Ice Harbor and Little Goose) of the Snake River will close, so they will NOT be open during the next Friday and Saturday or Sunday and Monday (May 17 & 18, and 19 & 20). 

The Clarkston area will remain open for another two day period on May 19 and 20, so they will have an opportunity to take the remaining salmon available in the Snake River allocation.

Department staff are in the process to get approval for the emergency closure regulation and provide a public announcement out within the next day or so.

 More from Mendel:

The Technical Advisory Committee met Monday morning and reduced the Columbia River upriver spring Chinook adult run prediction to 107,500 (down from 141,400 pre-season prediction).  They will meet again next Monday to look reconsider the run estimate. 

Now that the in-season run update has occurred, the remaining commercial and sport harvest that is available to the lower Columbia River under the original buffered run prediction can be taken.  Therefore, the area below Bonneville is proposed to reopen for harvest.  Those fisheries had closed in April below Bonneville, and early May (for zone 6 from Bonneville to the Oregon State line upstream of McNary Dam), and they had left part of their harvest allocations on the table to ensure that they did not affect the Snake River fisheries or overshoot their allocations if the run came in short of the 30% buffered run prediction. 

For example, below Bonneville sport had left nearly 30% of their harvest allocation untaken, so now they are going back to get that portion. 

Some anglers in the past have been upset that the Snake River closes and the lower river reopens, but each zone (below Bonneville, Bonneville to Oregon line, and the lower Snake River) of the mainstem Columbia River and lower Snake are allocated a certain percentage of the ESA impacts and harvest.  As long as the total non-tribal harvest or ESA impacts remain within the limits agreed to with other fishery managers for the determined run size, each zone is allowed to try to harvest their allocation, even if that means reopening after other areas have closed.

Decisions on spring chinook fishing coming today

FISHING — Washington and Oregon officials will meet today to consider reopening sport and commercial fishing for spring chinook salmon in the lower Columbia River.

The Columbia River Compact will begin at 11 a.m. to consider gillnet fishing between Bonneville Dam and the coast. A joint state sport hearing will follow the compact session.

The science is murky, the issues tricky and the user groups are diverse and eager to get their slice of the pie, however small it is this year.

Click “continue reading” for insight from Outdoor writer Allen Thomas of the Vancouver Columbian.

Little Goose Dam closing to traffic

FISHING – Little Goose Lock and Dam at Snake River Mile 70.3 near Starbuck, Wash., will be closed to public vehicle traffic across the top of the dam May 15 -July 13, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced.

Bad news for some anglers.

Construction will force the temporary traffic-crossing closure.

Travelers can call 1-888-DAM-INFO (1-888-326-4636) for current dam-crossing information at all three of Walla Walla District’s dams that allow public traffic to cross the Snake River: Lower Monumental, near Kahlotus, Wash.; Little Goose, near Starbuck, Wash.; and Lower Granite, near Pomeroy, Wash.

Info: Walla Walla District’s recreation website.

Spring chinook jack count near record pace

FISHING — On Tuesday, anglers got a heads up from an Idaho fisheries manager that jack counts were the highlight of this year's spring chinook run.

He wasn't kidding.

Washington Fish and Wildlif Department fisheries manager Joe Hymer in Vancouver points out that through May 9 the total of 18,032 spring chinook jacks counted at Bonneville Dam is only 97 fish off the record count for the same day logged in 2009.

That year ar record of nearly 82,000 jacks were counted through June 15 (the end of the spring Chinook count at the dam). 

So we're on a possible record pace.

Jacks are good eating… and the future for adult returns is bright.