Fall Chinook Seasons Set
by Associated Press
OLYMPIA -- For the first time in more than 20 years, anglers will be allowed to catch and keep fall chinook from the Snake River in Washington state, starting Thursday.
The catch limit also was increased for fall chinook in the season that opens Thursday along the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon from the mouth of the Lewis River north of Vancouver about 60 miles eastward to Bonneville Dam.
An unexpectedly large run of the fish, known as upriver brights, was cited for both actions by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
On the Snake, the principal tributary of the Columbia, the run is estimated at 20,000 to 35,000 fish and scientists believe that's enough for a recreational catch of about 400.
"We're excited to be able to provide anglers this opportunity to fish for fall chinook on the Snake River," said John T. Whalen Jr., the agency's regional fish program manager. "This is the first Snake River fall chinook fishery for adult salmon retention since 1988."
The area open to fishing is from about a mile above Little Goose Dam to a railroad bridge about 10 miles downstream below the mouth of the Tucannon River, and the season runs through Oct. 15 or whenever the quota is reached.
Only barbless hooks may be used, fishing is limited to the daytime and only hatchery-reared fish -- identifiable by a clipped adipose fin and a healed scar -- may be kept. Wild chinook, coho and steelhead must be returned to the river immediately.
The daily limit per person is one adult hatchery chinook at least 2 feet long and two hatchery jacks of 10 inches to 2 feet.
In the lower Columbia, the limit was increased to allow as many as two adult chinook within a total of six salmon. Any chinook may be retained, regardless of whether the fin has been clipped, but coho, sockeye and chum salmon must be released. The season is projected to run through Dec. 31.
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