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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 15, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Portions of the Snake River opening soon for spring chinook

The spring chinook fishery for three portions of the Snake River was finlaized, and the area below Ice Harbor will open April 20 through May 31.

Two other sections of the river, one near Little Goose Dam and the other near Clarkston will follow by opening April 25 through May 31.

The daily catch limit for most of these areas is two hatchery-reared chinook marked with a clipped adipose fin and four hatchery jacks, measuring less than 24 inches.

The exception is the area along the south shoreline of Little Goose Dam upstream to the juvenile-bypass return pipe, where anglers may retain only one adult chinook and one jack per day. Anglers fishing in that area must stop fishing for the day once they catch and keep one adult spring chinook.

Anglers must use barbless hooks and release all steelhead, and all spring chinook with an intact adipose fin.

The preseason forecast is 198,400 upriver spring chinook will return to the Snake River in southeast Washington, including 66,000 hatchery fish.

That forecast is strong enough to open three areas of the river to chinook fishing, but not the area near Lower Granite Dam that was open last year, John Whalen, a state Fish and Wildlife manager of the eastern region fish program said in a news release.

“The return estimate isn’t quite as robust as last year,” Whalen said. “As a result, only three of the four sections of the Snake will be open for hatchery chinook fishing this year.”

All the fisheries could close sooner if there are impacts to the wild spring chinook.

Here is the specifics on each section of the Snake:

The section below Ice Harbor Dam, which opens April 20, extends from the Highway 12 Bridge at Pasco upstream about seven miles to a point approximately 400 feet below the dam.

The section near Little Goose Dam, which opens April 25, extends about nine miles upriver from the railroad bridge (about a half-mile downstream from the mouth of the Tucannon River) to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat launch on the south shore about a mile upstream of the dam. The open area includes waters between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline, including the walkway area known as “The Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility.

The section near Clarkston, which opens April 25, from the intersection of Steptoe Canyon Road with Highway 193 in Whitman County, upriver about 12 miles to the Idaho state line, from the north termination of the rock levee on the east side of the Greenbelt boat launch (near the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office) northwest across the Snake River to the Idaho/Washington marker on the north shore.

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