Hells Canyon Chinook season opens April 22

Snake River


Spring Chinook season will open in Hells Canyon on April 22 from the Dug Bar boat ramp to the boundary below Hells Canyon Dam. 

Snake River spring Chinook are currently making their way up the Columbia River headed for Hells Canyon.

“While we don’t expect these fish to arrive for a few weeks, we want anglers to have access as soon as they do,” said Jeff Yanke, ODFW fish biologist in Enterprise. “This has been a popular opportunity in recent years and is a good chance to catch some springers close to home,” he added. 

The daily bag limit is 4 spring Chinook per day with no more than 2 being adults over 24 inches.  Anglers must stop fishing for salmon for the day when they have retained 4 salmon or 2 adult salmon, whichever comes first. Barbless hooks and a Columbia River Basin Endorsement are required when fishing for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon in the Snake River. All other 2017 sport fishing regulations apply. Due to limited access in this section, most anglers access this fishery below Hells Canyon Dam or by jet boat.

Managers with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Idaho Fish and Game expect a modest run of about 2,000 hatchery spring Chinook to return to Hells Canyon Dam. 

“Unfortunately, Chinook runs have been lagging in recent years due to unfavorable ocean conditions,” said Yanke. “However, we’re happy offer this opportunity, despite the marginal run, and anticipate better returns in the future.”

Snake River spring Chinook enter the Columbia river during early spring and travel nearly 600 miles past eight dams to reach Hells Canyon Dam These fish are raised at Rapid River Hatchery in Idaho with funds provided by the Idaho Power Company.

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