Opening Day of Lake-Fishing Season
by David Haviland
Fishing: April 24 marks the start of the most popular fishing season in Washington, including dozens of trout-stocked lakes in this region. It is also the opening day of spring chinook season on three sections of the Snake River, where fishing will be expanded this year. Daily catch limits will also be raised, thanks to the abundance of hatchery chinook expected to return.
In all, four sections of the Snake will open to spring chinook fishing this year - starting April 20 with the stretch starting just below Ice Harbor Dam on the Walla Walla/Franklin county line, just east of the Tri-Cities. That section of the Snake River runs from the southbound Highway 12 Bridge upstream about seven miles to the fishing-restriction boundary, about 400 feet below Ice Harbor Dam.
The three sections of the Snake that open April 24 are:
From Railroad Bridge, about half-mile downstream of the Tucannon River mouth, up about nine miles to the Corps of Engineers boat launch (about a mile upstream of Little Goose Dam along the south shore). This zone includes the area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (includes the walkway area locally known as "the Wall" in front of the juvenile collection facility);
From Casey Creek upstream about six miles to the fishery restriction area below Lower Granite Dam; and
From Blyton Landing Boat Launch along the Snake River Road in Whitman County (about 12 miles upstream of Lower Granite Dam) upstream about 19 miles to the boat dock behind the Quality Inn in Clarkston (boundary line is from the white sign for Hells Canyon Tours (about 100 ft upstream of the boat dock that has the small green roofed shed on the south shore) across to the culvert with tanks and trailers on the north shore).
Only adipose fin-clipped spring chinook adults or jacks can be retained in these fisheries. Chinook harvest or retention is limited to two adults and four jacks per day. One exception is the area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility - including the walkway area locally known as "the Wall" in front of the juvenile collection facility - where the daily catch limit is one jack and one adult.
The minimum size of any retained chinook is 12 inches. Jacks are less than 24 inches long. The adipose fin-clipped fish must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin. Fishing must cease as soon as the adult chinook daily limit is retained. All chinook with the adipose fin intact, and all steelhead, must be immediately released unharmed.
All of these chinook fisheries will run through June 30, unless catch rates warrant an earlier closure. See all details at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ .
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