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Chinook fishing underway on Klickitat, Wenatchee rivers

Anglers hoping to catch chinook salmon on the Wenatchee or Upper Klickitat rivers are in luck as the spring chinook salmon season has opened.

The Wenatchee River opened this past Friday to fishing for spring chinook salmon for the first time in nearly two decades.

With almost 10,000 hatchery chinook expected to return to the river this year, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced openings on two sections of the river:

  • From the Washington State Parks foot bridge at Confluence Park (just upstream from the confluence with the Columbia River) to 400 feet below Dryden Dam.
  • From the confluence with Peshastin Creek to the downstream side of the confluence with the Icicle River and from that point to a marker on the opposite shore.

The fishery will be open seven days a week in both areas until further notice.

Anglers will have a daily limit of two hatchery spring chinook measuring at least 12 inches long and marked with a clipped adipose fin. Under statewide regulations, anglers may retain only one daily limit of salmon, regardless of how many waters they fish.

All wild chinook must immediately be released back into the water unharmed.

“We are pleased that we’re able to provide this fishery, which will reduce excess hatchery fish while increasing fishing opportunities in the area,” Jeff Korth, regional fish and wildlife fishery manager said. “We’ve done this successfully in other watersheds and now we’re bringing it to the Wenatchee River.”

The department will closely monitor the fishery and enforce fishing rules to ensure protection of wild chinook, bull trout and any steelhead that may be incidentally caught and released.

In addition to the mark-selective rules in effect for the fishery, anglers are required to:

  • Retain any legal hatchery spring chinook they catch until they reach their daily limit, then stop fishing for spring chinook.
  • Release any spring chinook with one or more round holes punched in the tail fin. These fish are vital to ongoing studies in the upper Wenatchee River Basin.
  • Observe selective gear rules in effect on the Wenatchee River wherever chinook seasons are open. No gear restrictions are in effect on the Icicle River, and anglers may use bait on both rivers.
  • Heed the prohibition of internal combustion motorized vessels and observe night closures on the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers.

To participate in this fishery, anglers must possess a valid 2014-15 fishing license and a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement.

Because the fishery is open until further notice, anglers should check the department’s “Fishing Rule Change” website (wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations) before heading out.

Fishing is also open on the Upper Klickitat River for hatchery-reared adult spring chinook, starting this past Saturday and running until Thursday, July 31.

Anglers may catch and keep up to two hatchery adult spring chinook as part of their salmon daily limit on the Klickitat River upstream to boundary markers below the salmon hatchery.

The fishery is open on the Klickitat River from 400 feet upstream from #5 fishway (located about one-half mile upstream from the Fisher Hill Bridge) to boundary markers below Klickitat Salmon Hatchery.

There is a daily limit of six salmon of which no more than two may be adults. Wild chinook must be released. This will match rules already in effect below Fisher Hill Bridge (located about two miles upstream from the mouth).

Anglers are reminded there are closed waters from Fisher Hill Bridge to 400 feet upstream from #5 fishway and from the boundary markers below Klickitat Salmon Hatchery to the boundary markers just upstream of the hatchery. The section upstream from the salmon hatchery remains closed to fishing for salmon.

Call the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Fishing Hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules or check the department’s webpage.

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