Tue., May 16, 2017
Washington ends Snake River spring chinook fishing with a whimper
Spring chinook counts at Ice Harbor Dam, first dam the salmon encounter heading upstream in the Snake River. (Fish Passage Center)
FISHING -- Spring chinook fishing has been closed on the Washington stretches of the Snake River that opened on April 28 in reaction to the downsized expectation for the 2017 run, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department announced today.
The spring chinook run size to the mouth of the Columbia River was downgraded from a pre-season forecast of 160,400 to 83,000 this week. This extreme drop in run size requires WDFW to close this fishery immediately, officials said.
Snake River anglers never really got a shot at the springers this year, with only 191 chinooks reported over Lower Granite Dam by Tuesday. Lower Columbia spring chinook fisheries already are closed after quickly meet downgraded quotas and won't re-open unless there's a significant pulse of fish coming over Bonneville.
Idaho's Snake River seasons won't change at least through Sunday, but Idaho Fish and Game biologists are watching the run closely.
"For Idaho fisheries, there is at least one advantage to being upriver," said Brett Bowersox, Idaho fisheries biologist in Lewiston. "We have the chance to continue to monitor the run over Bonneville Dam. We are still getting Idaho bound PIT-tag detections at Bonneville everyday so our run continues to increase.:
He said the agency is still concerned and the potential for curtailing the Idaho season has been discussed.
"However, we are still getting 1,000-plus fish days over Bonneville and we will continue to monitor counts to help us make decisions."