Two sections of the lower Snake River opened for hatchery-reared fall chinook salmon fishing this week because of a good return of upriver bright chinook, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said.
The hatchery chinook fishery is scheduled to remain open through Oct. 15.
The hatchery chinook fishery is open from the Highway 12 bridge near the mouth of the Snake River upstream to the no-fishing zone below Ice Harbor Dam, and from the Highway 261 bridge crossing on the Snake River -- about a half-mile upstream from Lyons Ferry Hatchery -- upstream to the no-fishing zone below Little Goose Dam.
The second area is the stretch that flows past the mouth of the Tucannon River, which is not open to Chinook fishing. "The mouth is defined by our enforcement officers as a line from the north side of the curve of the road west of the Tucannon River near a mile marker sign, to the north edge of the high bluff east of the Tucannon River," said Glen Mendel, district fish biologist.
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On most of the open area, the daily catch limit is two hatchery adult chinook (24 inches or greater), and four chinook jacks (less than 24 inches) either wild or hatchery-marked. Hatchery fish can be identified by a clipped adipose fin and a healed scar.
In addition, a night closure will be in effect for all species within the boundaries of the fishery, including steelhead.
Coho salmon, adult wild chinook and wild steelhead must be immediately released unharmed. Anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing for chinook or steelhead in the Snake River.
No chinook or steelhead can be removed from the water unless the fish is retained as part of the daily catch limit.
Limits lifted at lakes set for rotenone treatments
Catch and size limits temporarily have been lifted in about two-dozen Eastern Washington waters scheduled for rotenone treatments to improve future fishing.
Anglers will be allowed to take unlimited fish from the targeted waters before they are closed for rotenone treatment to eliminate undesirable fish species that compete with trout, said Jim Uehara, a fisheries manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Rotenone, a naturally occurring substance derived from the roots of tropical plants, has been found in scientific studies to present no significant health risk to people, pets, livestock or wildlife, the department said.
Most of the waters scheduled for treatment this fall have abundant populations of carp, tench, goldfish, sunfish or other small species, and most will be re-stocked next year with rainbow and/or cutthroat trout, Uehara said.
In Grant County, there will be no size or catch limits through Sept. 13 at Desert Wildlife Area Lakes (Harris, Dune, Sedge, Tern and Desert Wildlife Area ponds); and there will be no selective gear rules at Beda and Brookies lakes through Sept. 13. No fishing will be allowed in these ponds and lakes Sept.14 until further notice.
There also will be no size or catch limits at Fishtrap Lake in Lincoln County through Oct. 11. It will be closed to fishing Oct. 12 until further notice.