OLYMPIA – Anglers on the Snake River will be able to fish for spring Chinook salmon when fishing begins to reopen in Washington on May 5, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced.
Two sections of the river – the area surrounding Little Goose Dam and the area around Clarkston — will be open on alternating days, giving area anglers four possible days each week for spring Chinook fishing.
“This is always a popular fishery, so we’re excited that we can offer an opportunity to fish,” said Chris Donley, Region 1 fish program manager with WDFW.
Fishing — along with state-managed public lands and water access areas — was closed throughout Washington in late March in order to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Many freshwater and saltwater fisheries reopen beginning May 5.
The two sections of the Snake River opening for Chinook retention are:
- Opening Tuesdays and Fridays beginning May 5: The area from the Texas Rapids boat launch to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the walkway area known locally as “The Wall” on the south side of the river below Little Goose Dam.
- Opening Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning May 6: The Clarkston area from the downstream edge of the large powerlines crossing the Snake River upstream about 3.5 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA/ID boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).
Anglers in these areas may keep up to 4 hatchery Chinook daily, only one of which may be an adult. The minimum size of any retained Chinook salmon is 12 inches. All wild salmon, bull trout, and steelhead must be immediately released unharmed. Anglers fishing for Chinook salmon must use barbless hooks, and a night closure is in effect for salmon fishing. Anglers cannot remove any Chinook salmon or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit.
Anglers are responsible for knowing the regulations at their intended destination by checking the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations, the Fish Washington mobile app, and WDFW’s emergency rules page at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.
The fishery is open until further notice, but Donley noted that fishery managers will be watching the run closely to ensure harvest impacts aren’t exceeded and Endangered Species Act requirements are met, and will close the fishery when necessary.
Anglers are also asked to continue helping in the fight against COVID-19 by practicing physical distancing at all fishing locations and water access areas. This includes keeping 6 feet between yourself and anyone not in your immediate household, and having a backup plan in case your intended destination appears too crowded or remains closed. Though state lands are scheduled to reopen beginning May 5, some facilities may still be unavailable, and the public is encouraged to carry their own handwashing materials and packing out their garbage.