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Snake River Chinook Fishing Closes this Weekend

by Rich Landers
Spokesman-Review, May 11, 2011

Spring chinook salmon fishing has been good on the Washington portion of the Snake River SALMON FISHING -- Spring chinook salmon fishing has been good on the Washington portion of the Snake River -- too good.

The Fish and Wildlife Department has just announced the Snake spring chinook season will close this weekend because of high catch rates over the past week that have pushed the total harvest near the limit for the season.

Spring chinook fishing on the Snake River will close Saturday below Ice Harbor Dam and Monday in the Little Goose and Clarkston areas.

All three areas were originally scheduled to remain open through the month, but a review of the harvest to date indicates the allowable catch will be reached sooner than expected, said John Whalen, WDFW eastern regional fish program manager.

The fish were slow in getting to the Snake, but when they did arrive they came in large numbers," Whalen said. "Fishing has been extremely good over the past week."

The catch limit for the Snake River fishery is governed by a federal permit, because the wild portion of the run is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Whalen said there is a chance the fishery could reopen, noting that the forecast for this year's spring chinook run was increased today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

"If the estimated run size keeps going up, anglers could be back on the Snake fishing for spring chinook," Whalen said.

The section of the Snake River that closes May 14 at 12:01 a.m. extends from the southbound Highway 12 Bridge at Pasco upstream about seven miles to the fishing restriction boundary about 400 feet below Ice Harbor Dam.

Sections of the Snake that close May 16 at 12:01 a.m. range from:

Until the scheduled closures, the daily catch limit is two adipose-fin-clipped spring chinook adults and four adipose-fin-clipped jacks. One exception is that in the shoreline 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), the daily catch limit is one jack and one adult.

For areas open for chinook, anglers must cease fishing for salmon for the day when they retain the adult daily limit.

For further information about rules governing this fishery, see the Emergency Rule.

Rich Landers
Snake River Chinook Fishing Closes this Weekend
Spokesman-Review, May 11, 2011

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