The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Tuesday that it had approved a rule change that would allow for fishing for hatchery chinook salmon on two areas of the Yakima River starting on Friday.
The fishing would be allowed in Area A from Friday through June 15. That area starts at the Highway 240 bridge in Richland upstream to the State Route 241, also known as Sunnyside-Mabton bridge.
Fishing will also be allowed in Area B from May 16 through June 30. That area starts at the Interstate 82 bridge at Union Gap to the BNSF Railroad Bridge about 600 feet downstream of Roza Dam.
The daily limit will be two hatchery chinook salmon. All other salmon other than chinook must be released.
Anglers can use up to two poles and they must use single-point barbless hooks. Use of bait is allowed.
Fishing for all other game fish, such as trout and whitefish, remains closed until May 27.
A total of 5,550 adult spring chinook salmon are forecast to return to the Yakima River, including 1,990 hatchery fish at the Cle Elum Hatchery.
Anglers are reminded that hatchery fish are identified by having a clipped adipose fin.
Wild salmon have their adipose fins intact and must be released unharmed. Anglers should not remove wild salmon from the water prior to release.
The spring chinook salmon adult return to the Yakima River will be assessed during the season and may be closed with limited notice. Check the WDFW website for emergency regulation updates.
Spokane Riverkeeper festival set
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival and fundraiser, scheduled to benefit the nonprofit Spokane Riverkeeper, will be held on May 25 at the Garland Theater.
The film festival is the organization’s ninth annual screening of environmental films that feature nature’s beauty, environmental issues and heart-warming stories, according to a news release.
Spokane Riverkeeper staff and other guests will introduce the films and provide updates on projects occurring in the Spokane River watershed.
The event will also feature door prizes and raffle tickets for a chance to win trips, gift certificates and more.
The event will be held at 5:30 p.m. with the show beginning at 7 at the Garland Theater, located at 924 W. Garland Ave.
The cost to attend is $15 online or $20 at the door.
For more information, visit the organization website here.
Wildlife officials seek input on hatchery policy
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking for public comment on an environmental analysis of a draft policy to guide management of hatcheries in cooperation with tribal co-managers.
In April 2021, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted a new Anadromous Salmon and Steelhead Hatchery Policy and instructed WDFW “to begin development of a joint policy agreement on salmon and steelhead hatchery programs with tribal co-managers,” which would supplement and supersede the existing commission policy when appropriate.
After more than a year of collaborative work with technical staff under the direction of a subset of commissioners and tribal policymakers, a final draft policy was developed in November .
Following presentations to the full commission, the draft policy was released for general public comment in February .
Results of that public comment opportunity were presented to the commission in April.
The draft policy includes commitments to work as co-managers to develop and implement hatchery management plans on a regional or watershed-specific basis, while conserving natural-spawning populations of fish and mitigating the effects of habitat loss and other environmental impacts. The draft policy outlines six guiding principles to support these values.
The draft co-manager hatchery policy is undergoing a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) public comment period.
Members of the public can submit comments on the SEPA determination online, by email, or by mail to Lisa Wood, SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, WDFW Habitat Program, Protection Division, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, Wash., 98504
Comments must be received by May 26.
S-R’s Alan Liere wins award
Spokesman-Review outdoors correspondent Alan Liere won first place in the Northwest Writers’ Association’s Excellence in Craft contest in the Travel/Camping/Recreation category, for his story ”The Big Outside.”