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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 7, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Yakima River opens soon for hatchery spring chinook

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Another fairly good spring chinook run is making its way back to the Yakima River, and enough to host a sport fishery that will open May 16 to June 13 in the middle reach.

State Fish and Wildlife and the Yakama Nation fisheries managers are forecasting a run of 10,000 to 15,900 spring chinook.

The spring chinook run headed back to the Columbia River is tracking about two weeks behind so anglers shouldn’t expect much when it initially opens. Normally the peak of the run is mid-May to late May. Look for early June to be hammer time on these fish.

Fishing for hatchery chinook, trout and other game fish will be open from the Interstate 82 bridge at Union Gap upstream to the Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge approximately 500 feet downstream of Roza Dam.

For the duration of this salmon fishery, the upper “closed water” boundary line is moved upstream to the railroad bridge downstream of Roza Dam to provide additional opportunity to harvest hatchery chinook. Retention of trout between 12 to 20 inches, and a daily limit two) and other game fish is prohibited until the new, statewide river season opener on Saturday, June 6.

Daily limit is two hatchery chinook. Minimum size is 12 inches. Hatchery salmon are identified by a missing adipose fin and a healed scar in the location of the missing fin. Wild salmon (adipose fin intact) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

Only one, single-point, barbless hook with a hook gap from point to shank of ¾ inch or less is permitted. Use of bait is allowed. The new “Selective Gear Rules” requirement (prohibiting use of bait) is temporarily suspended during the salmon fishery for all species. Night closure in effect for all species.

Fishing for steelhead remains closed. All steelhead (rainbow trout greater than 20″ in total length) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

All fishing is closed 400 feet upstream from the upstream side of the Yakima Ave./Terrace Heights Road Bridge in Yakima, including the area adjacent and downstream of the Roza Wasteway No. 2 fish barrier rack next to Morton & Sons, Inc.

(Photo taken by Steve Zugschwerdt, Kitsap Sun, 2007)

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