Several new fishing opportunities for hatchery-reared spring
chinook salmon are opening up on the Columbia and Snake rivers as
the season enters its final leg.
With approximately 2,700 upriver chinook still available for
harvest, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today agreed
to expand or reopen fisheries in the several areas.
Below Bonneville Dam: Starting Friday (May 27), boat anglers
will be allowed to fish for spring chinook from Beacon Rock
upstream to Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. This four-mile
area, previously open for bank fishing only, will remain open for
both kinds of fishing on the lower river through June 15.
Above Bonneville Dam: Starting Saturday (May 28), the boat and bank
fishery will reopen through June 2 from the Tower Island power
lines upriver to the Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles from
McNary Dam. Bank fishing will also be allowed from Bonneville Dam
upriver to the power lines, located six miles below The Dalles
Snake River: Also starting Saturday (May 28), the spring chinook
fishery will reopen through June 2 in the Little Goose and
Clarkston areas of the Snake River.
Cindy LeFleur, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the states may
consider granting additional fishing time if enough fish are still
available for harvest under the upriver catch guideline.
According to the most recent update, 213,400 upriver spring
chinook are expected to return to the Columbia River system this
year. Under this year’s catch guideline for recreational fisheries,
2,700 are still available for harvest.
“The high water we’ve experienced in the Columbia River has
slowed catch rates in many areas this season,” LeFleur said. “But
anglers are still catching some nice fish, and we’re glad to be
able to extend that opportunity.”
Joe Hymer, a WDFW fish biologist, noted that recent catch
surveys show that anglers fishing along the banks of the lower
river have had higher success rates than those fishing from
“Bank anglers have some real advantages right now,” Hymer said.
“Not only are they catching more fish, it’s also safer under these
Below Bonneville Dam, anglers may retain one adult spring
chinook salmon marked with a clipped adipose fin as part of their
daily catch limit. Above Bonneville, the daily limit can include
two marked hatchery adult chinook salmon. All unmarked chinook and
steelhead must be released unharmed.
Sockeye salmon and hatchery-reared steelhead also count toward
anglers’ daily limit.
The two areas opening to spring chinook fishing on the Snake
The Little Goose area, which extends from the Railroad Bridge
about one-half mile downstream from the mouth of the Tucannon
River, upriver about nine miles to the Corps of Engineers boat
launch, about a mile upstream of Little Goose Dam.
The Clarkston area, which extends from the intersection of Steptoe
Canyon Road with Highway 193 in Whitman County, upriver about 12
miles to the Idaho state line.
In these areas of the Snake River, the daily limit is two
adipose-fin-clipped spring chinook adults and four
adipose-fin-clipped jacks. One exception is the shoreline area
between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along
the south shoreline of the facility, where the daily catch limit is
one jack and one adult. Anglers must use barbless hooks when
fishing in the Snake River.
For more information about fishing regulation changes on the
Columbia and Snake rivers, check for “emergency rule changes” on
WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.