State Fish and Wildlife just sent out a press release that indicates the Lower Snake River will open for spring chinook fishing.
The predicted return of 470,000 upriver spring chinook allows for expanding fishing opportunities in the Snake River within Washington.
Expectations are for nearly 200,000 hatchery chinook to return to the Snake River.
Snake River will be open April 20 through June 30 from the South Bound Highway 12 Bridge upstream about 7 miles to the fishing restriction boundary approximately 400 feet below Ice Harbor Dam.
The Snake River areas listed below this are open April 24 through June 30, 2010:
From Railroad Bridge, about 0.5 miles downstream of the Tucannon River mouth, up about 9 miles to the Corps of Engineers boat launch (approximately 1 mile upstream of Little Goose Dam along the south shore). This zone includes the area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (includes the walkway area locally known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility).
From Casey Creek upstream about 6 miles to the fishery restriction area below Lower Granite Dam.
From Blyton Landing Boat Launch along the Snake River Road in Whitman County (about 12 miles upstream of Lower Granite Dam) upstream about 19 miles to the boat dock behind the Quality Inn in Clarkston. (The boundary line is from the white sign for Hells Canyon Tours approximately 100 ft upstream of the boat dock that has the small green roofed shed on the south shore) across to the culvert with tanks and trailers on the north shore.
Other information: Only adipose-clipped spring chinook adults or jacks can be retained in these fisheries.
The minimum size of any retained chinook is 12 inches. Jacks are less than 24 inches long. The adipose fin-clipped fish must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin.
Fishing must cease as soon as the adult chinook daily limit is retained. All chinook with the adipose fin intact, and all steelhead, must be immediately released unharmed. chinook harvest or retention is limited to 2 adults and 4 jacks per day.
Exception: The area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility, which includes the walkway area locally known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility. The daily bag limit for this limited area is one jack and one adult, but an angler must cease fishing when the 1 adipose-clipped adult is retained.
In addition: The following rules will be in effect for anglers fishing for all species in these areas of the Snake River during the salmon fishery: Barbless hooks only, night closure in effect, and it shall be unlawful to use any hook larger than 5/8 inch (point of hook to shank). Anglers cannot remove any chinook or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit.
Anglers are reminded to refer to the 2009/2010 Fishing in Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet (in effect through April 30, 2010), and the new 2010-2011 sport fishing rules pamphlet (in effect May 1, 2010) for other regulations, including safety closures, etc. Angler catch rates will be monitored closely and Snake River salmon fisheries may be closed prior to June 30 based upon conservation needs.