The spring chinook return heading up the Columbia River continues to build, and more sections of the Yakima River will be opening for fishing.
The Lower Yakima below Prosser opened for spring chinook fishing on Saturday, May 3, and while 10 anglers had no salmon catch this fishery will continue to improve in the weeks ahead.
State Fish and Wildlife announced this past week that the Upper Yakima will open for spring chinook beginning May 17 from the I-82 Bridge at Union Gap to the railroad bridge below Roza Dam.
Through Wednesday, May 7, 502 adult spring chinook were counted at Prosser Dam, and most were wild fish which is typical of the early part of the run. It was also noted that the first spring chinook had crossed Roza Dam 80 miles upriver on Monday, May 5.
State Fish and Wildlife predicts about 3,350 adult hatchery spring chinook will return to the Yakima River.
The bulk of the catch usually occurs in the upper river below Roza Dam. The daily limit is two hatchery-marked spring chinook. Release all wild salmon and steelhead, which cannot be removed from the water.
Walk-in access areas are the passage across Roza Dam to the popular fishing area below the railroad bridge boundary on the west bank; and the trail across private property accessed from the “Roza Cut” parking area at the top of the hill on the Yakima Canyon Hwy (SR 821), which is used by anglers to access fishing sites on the east river bank below the railroad bridge.
Anglers are also asked to abide by these rules: Passage across the dam is limited to walk-in access to the stairway on the west bank of the river and only during the salmon fishery. Rules prohibit crossing the Roza Canal at the west end of the dam and using the railroad bridges over Roza Canal and the Yakima River to access the fishing areas on both banks. Anglers can access both sides of the river by walking under the bridge next to the abutments to access the fishing areas downstream.
Parking is only allowed in the designated areas on the right side of the Roza Dam Access Road, not on private property on the left side of the road.
Trash dumpsters have been placed in parking areas at the Roza Cut and Roza Dam Access Road, and next to the Roza adult fish trapping facility. Anglers are asked to carry a trash bag and deposit their trash – along with any they find along the trail – in the dumpsters.
Anglers are also asked to use the three portable toilets provided at the Roza Cut and access road parking areas and on the dam near the west bank stairway.