Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Washington: Three sections of Snake River open for spring chinook fishing this month

Three sections of the Snake River will open to fishing for
spring chinook salmon this month, starting April 20 with the
stretch below Ice Harbor Dam.

Two other sections of the river – one near Little Goose Dam, the
other near Clarkston – will open April 25.

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 chinook salmon.

In all areas of the river, anglers must use barbless hooks and
release, unharmed, all steelhead and all chinook salmon with an
intact adipose fin.

According to the pre-season forecast, some 198,400 spring
chinook salmon 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, said John Whalen, manager of the eastern region
fish program for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

“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.”

Those fisheries are scheduled to run through May 31, but could
be closed earlier if catch monitoring shows too much impact on wild
stocks, Whalen said. He added that the fishery would not have
opened at all this year without revenue available from the Columbia
River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement.

“The federal permit for this fishery requires close monitoring
of impacts on wild fish,” Whalen said. “Without the $8.75 anglers
pay for the endorsement, the department could not afford the
necessary level of monitoring.”

The three sections of the Snake River opening to chinook fishing
this month are defined as follows:

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.

Additional information about the fishery is included in the Fishing
Rule Change notice, available on WDFW’s rules website at Whalen also encourages
anglers to review the 2010/2011 Fishing in Washington rules
pamphlet, in effect through April 30, 2011, and the new 2011/2012
sport fishing rules pamphlet, which will posted on the rules
website and available from license dealers later this month.


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