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Fall chinook fishing opens on Snake River

Starting this coming Saturday, anglers will be able to catch and keep hatchery fall chinook salmon seven days a week on the Snake River.

Predicting another strong return of upriver bright chinook salmon this year, state fishery managers have expanded the daily catch limit to include six adult hatchery chinook, plus six hatchery jack chinook under 24 inches in length.

Anglers may also catch and keep up to three hatchery steelhead on the Snake River, but must stop fishing for the day – for both hatchery chinook and steelhead – once the three-fish steelhead limit is obtained.

Barbless hooks are required, and any salmon or steelhead not marked as a hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin must be released, along with any chinook salmon under 12 inches.

“This is a great opportunity for anglers to catch hatchery chinook salmon during the traditionally productive Snake River steelhead fishery,” said John Whalen, regional fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Whalen said the fall chinook fishing on the Snake River is expected to extend through Oct. 31, while the season for hatchery steelhead and other game fish will run through Feb. 28, 2015.

Of the 919,000 upper river brights projected to enter the Columbia River this year, 61,000 are wild fall chinook bound for the Snake River. Retention of hatchery chinook won’t increase impacts to fish protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, so long as anglers release wild chinook as required, Whalen said. 

Fishing will extend from waters of the Columbia River from the railroad bridge between Burbank and Kennewick upstream approximately 2.1 miles to the first power line crossing upstream of the navigation light on the point of Sacajawea State Park and on the Snake River from the Columbia River confluence to the Oregon State line.

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