Clearwater Fishing Opens Saturdayby Eric Barker
Lewiston Tribune, April 19, 2001
What is expected to be one of the best spring chinook salmon seasons in decades opens Saturday.
More adult chinook are expected to return to the Snake River and its tributaries and more water will be open to spring chinook salmon fishing this year than since slack water backed up to Lewiston.
Many spring chinook are here already and thousands more are on their way. Through Tuesday 8,044 chinook had been counted at Lower Granite Dam. Biologists estimate 56,000 to 83,000 chinook will be counted at the dam before the season ends. Last year, 33,800 spring chinook were counted there.
Anglers will be able to keep up to four hatchery chinook a day on most rivers open to chinook fishing. Most of the returning chinook will come from hatcheries and can be identified by the lack of an adipose fin on their backs. Wild chinook can not be kept and must be immediately released if caught.
On the Snake River in Hells Canyon, anglers can only keep two hatchery chinook a day. The fishery there is a joint venture between the states of Idaho and Oregon.
Washington has proposed a spring chinook salmon season on the Snake River between Texas Rapid near Little Goose Dam and Red Wolf Bridge at Clarkston. However the state has not yet received permission from the National Marine Fisheries Service.
If approved, that fishery is not expected to open until May 1 and could last until May 31. The length of the Washington season, if approved, could be affected by the number of chinook already caught by Washington anglers lower in the river system. If the state reaches its 2 percent allowable take of the run prior to May 31, the fishery would be closed.
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