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Snake River open for fall chinook salmon fishing

Portions of the Snake River were opened yesterday (Monday) for the harvest of fall chinook, thanks in part to a sizable number of fish returning to the Snake River this fall.

One of the areas open for fall fishing includes the lower Snake River from the mouth to Highway 12 bridge near Pasco. Also open to fishing is the portion of the Columbia River defined as the Snake River Confluence Protection Area.

Fish and wildlife officials say the reason for the expansion of the fall chinook fishing areas can be attributed to the upgrade in the number of salmon returning upriver. Biologists are predicting that 50,000 fall chinooks are on their way to the Snake River.

Daily catch is limited to three adipose fin-clipped chinook adults 24 inches in length or larger and six adipose fin clipped jack chinook adults less than 24 inches. A minimum size for chinook that can be kept from the Snake River is 12 inches. Harvest of hatchery chinook (adults and jacks) is allowed seven days per week. Anglers must cease fishing for salmon and steelhead for the day once they have retained three hatchery steelhead, regardless of whether the salmon daily limit has been retained. 

According to Region One Fish Program Manager John Whalen, all chinook and steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must be immediately released unharmed. In addition, anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing for chinook or steelhead in the Snake River Confluence Protection Area and in the Snake River. 

Whalen said anglers cannot remove any chinook or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit.

Fishing in the Snake River Protection Area ends Oct. 31.

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