More emergency salmon and steelhead fishing closures ordered on Snake and Columbia rivers

More fishing seasons on the Snake and Columbia rivers will be closing or remain closed under new emergency rules due to low returns of steelhead.

The steelhead return is the fourth-lowest on record since 1962 for both the upper Columbia River and the Snake River.

Already, much of Columbia River steelhead and salmon fishing was closed Sept. 26 due to low runs. The closure covered the river from Bonneville Dam to the blue bridge in Pasco.

More recent closures announced by the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife for Eastern Washington include:

Fall chinook salmon fishing closes from the mouth of the Snake River upstream to Lower Granite Dam Sunday, with the exception of the Lyons Berry Bubble Fishery from river marker 28 upstream to the Highway 261 Bridge, effective Sunday.

The closure to chinook fisheries should limit impacts to steelhead.

The Snake River will close to steelhead fishing from the mouth of the river to the Couse Creek boat ramp on Sunday.

The Hanford Reach steelhead fishery will remain closed through the end of the year from the Pasco blue bridge to the old Hanford townsite powerline crossing rather than opening as planned on Oct. 1.

This year’s return of Ringold Springs Hatchery steelhead is expected to be the lowest return on record for the past 20 years.

All returning steelhead will be needed for broodstock to meet the production goal of 180,000 juvenile steelhead planned for release in 2021.