RICHLAND, Wash. - The Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife is opening two sections of the Yakima River to fishing for hatchery spring chinook salmon.
The first section, open May 15th through June 30, goes from the Interstate 182 bridge in Richland to the Grand Avenue bridge in Prosser, about 1000 feet downstream of the Prosser Dam. This makes up about 42.5 miles.
The second section, open May 18th through July 15, goes from the Interstate 82 bridge at Union Gap to the BNSF railroad bridge, about 500 feet downstream of the Roza Dam. This makes up about 20.7 miles.
Fish and Wildlife says the Yakama Nation and WDFW fishery managers are forecasting a harvestable return of adult hatchery spring chinook to the Yakima River in 2013, so they're opening parts of the river for fishing.
The department has put limitations in place however. People who fish can only take a home a daily limit of two (2) hatchery chinook. The fish also need to be a minimum size of 12 inches.
Rangers say you can identify the hatchery salmon by their missing adipose fin, and a healed scar where the fin should be.
Wild salmon (which have their adipose fin intact) must be immediately released, unharmed, and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.
Rangers say people can use two (2) fishing poles during the salmon fishery provided the participating angler has purchased a "Two-Pole Endorsement" in addition to the freshwater fishing license and Columbia River salmon/steelhead endorsement.
"Your freshwater annual license, it's really easy, takes about ten minutes," says Aaron Tansy, who works in the fishing department at the Kennewick Ranch and Home, "we can get you your salmon and steelhead endorsements, your 2 pole endorsements, we can give you a salt water endorsement, it's really easy, it's worth it."
For a link to find the closest location where you can buy your license and endorsements, click here.
During the salmon fishery, angler's terminal gear can be one, single-point, barbless hook with a hook gap from point to shank of 3/4 of an inch or less when fishing for salmon.
Those fishing can use bait, but only in the specific areas.
Fishing from boats equipped with an internal combustion motor (ICM) is allowed only from the I-82 bridge at Union Gap to the east-bound (upstream) I-82 bridge at Selah Gap. Boats with an ICM may be used for transportation only upstream of the Selah Gap bridge.
Fish and Wildlife also wants to remind you that night closure is in effect, and that the retention of trout and other game fish is prohibited until the statewide river season opener on Saturday, June 1.