SALMON FISHING --Anglers in Washington waters will be able to keep hatchery chinook salmon caught on the Snake River starting Thursday (Sept. 1) through Oct. 31, the Fish and Wildlife Department has announced.
The Washington season coincides with the Idaho catch-and-keep season for fin-clipped chinook.
Washington's open area is upstream from the mouth of the Snake River, beginning at the south-bound lanes of the Highway 12 Bridge (near Pasco) to the Oregon State line (about 7 miles upstream of the mouth of the Grande Ronde River).
Wildlife officials are expecting the largest return of fall chinook salmon to the Columbia and Snake rivers in years. The large return should allow fishing for adult chinook along the entire length of the Snake River, said Glen Mendel of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife office in Dayton.
"This is the first year that we've been able to open the entire Snake River," said Mendel, who is the district fishery management biologist. The forecast is for 60,000 to 80,000 fish passing by Lower Granite Dam with up to 30,000 of those being jacks, or immature fish, he said.
Read on for more details.
Other Information:The salmon daily harvest limit in the Washington portion of the Snake River is three (3) adipose fin-clipped fall chinook adults (24 inches in length and larger),and three (3) adipose fin-clipped jack fall chinook (less than 24 inches). Minimum size for chinook that can be retained in the Snake River is 12 inches.
Harvest of hatchery chinook (adults and jacks) is allowed seven days per week. Anglers must stop fishing for salmon and steelhead for the day once they have retained 3 hatchery steelhead (regardless of whether the salmon daily limit has been retained).
The adipose fin-clipped fish must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin. All chinook and steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must be immediately released unharmed. 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. Anglers are reminded to refer to the 2011/2012 Fishing in Washington sport fishing rules pamphlet for other regulations, including possession limits and safety closures.
Angler catch rates will be monitored and WA Snake River salmon harvest opportunities may be closed prior to Oct. 31 based upon on-going run size and harvest evaluations.