Washington made official its plans to open four sections of the Snake River to spring chinook fishing later this month.
On April 20, a section starting at the U.S. Highway 12 bridge at Pasco and extending upstream seven miles to about 400 feet below Ice Harbor Dam will open. The other three sections open April 25. The nearest to the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley starts at Steptoe Canyon Road and extends upriver about 12 miles to the Idaho-Washington State line near the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers.
This year’s spring chinook fishery also includes an area near Lower Granite Dam that was not open last year. It starts at Casey Creek Canyon Road and extends upstream to about 400 feet below the dam.
The last section is the popular and productive fishery near Little Goose Dam. It starts at the railroad bridge approximately one half-mile downstream from the mouth of the Tucannon River and extends upriver to the fishing restriction boundary below the dam. It also includes the area from the dam to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat launch approximately one mile upstream of the dam.
The daily bag limit for most of the open areas will be two hatchery adult chinook and four hatchery jacks measuring less than 24 inches. The area near Little Goose Dam known as “The Wall” will have a bag limit of only one adult and one jack per day.
In all areas, anglers are required to use barbless hooks, and must stop fishing for the day when they reach their daily limit of adult salmon. All chinook with intact adipose fins and all steelhead, must immediately be released unharmed.
The fishery below Ice Harbor Dam is scheduled to remain open through May 24 with the rest of the areas remaining open through May 31. Any or all of the areas could close earlier based on harvest limits or impacts to wild fish.
A total of 168,000 spring chinook salmon are expected to return to the Snake River Basin this year, including 129,000 hatchery fish. Last year’s forecast anticipated a return of 194,000 spring chinook, but only 66,000 hatchery fish.