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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 22, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Parts of the Grays, Toutle, Green and Elochoman rivers open early for either hatchery spring chinook or steelhead

Some Lower Columbia River tributaries will open earlier than expected for either hatchery spring chinook or steelhead.

The Grays River mainstem and West Fork Grays River will open two weeks early to fishing for hatchery spring chinook and hatchery steelhead beginning May 23. It was originally scheduled to open on June 6.

The daily limit is six hatchery spring chinook of which no more than two may be adults. In addition, two hatchery steelhead may be retained. Salmon minimum size is 12 inches and the steelhead minimum size is 20 inches.

In recent years, spring chinook strays from the nearby Select Area Fishery commercial fishing sites have been found in the Grays River system. Stray hatchery summer run steelhead may also be found in the Grays River.

The lower sections of the South Fork Toutle River from mouth to the 4700 Road Bridge and Green River from the mouth to 400-feet below the water intake at the upper end of the hatchery will open early to fishing for hatchery steelhead beginning May 23.

Daily limit is two hatchery steelhead with a minimum size of 20 inches.

Under permanent rules, the entire South Fork Toutle River and the Green River from the mouth to the 2800 Road Bridge will open to fishing for hatchery steelhead beginning June 6. All tributaries to the South Fork Toutle and Green rivers remain closed to all fishing.

Selective gear rules will be in effect through June 5 to minimize potential handling of smolts and/or wild winter run steelhead that may be still present.

Hatchery summer run steelhead are released into the South Fork Toutle and Green rivers, and are not needed for broodstock. With the mainstem Columbia sport fishery closed for steelhead until further notice but no later than June 16, this could also result in more fish returning to these Toutle River tributaries.

The Elochoman River from the salmon hatchery bridge downstream will open two weeks early to fishing for hatchery-marked spring chinook and steelhead beginning May 23.

The daily limit is six hatchery spring chinook of which no more than two may be adults. In addition, two hatchery steelhead may be retained. Salmon minimum size is 12 inches and steelhead minimum size is 20 inches.

The section between the hatchery bridge and 100 feet above the upper hatchery rack remains closed to all fishing.

In recent years, spring chinook strays from the nearby Select Area Commercial Fishery sites have been found in the system. These fish are not needed for brood stock.

With the mainstem Columbia sport fishery closed for steelhead and salmon until further notice, but no later than June 16, this could also result in more fish returning to the Elochoman.

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