Snake River Spring Chinook Fishery Change

Snake River

Photo Credit: Courtesy of WDFW

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Action: Close spring Chinook salmon fishery at Location B (Clarkston) listed below.

Effective date: May 15, 2020 until further notice

Species affected: Chinook salmon and steelhead     


A) Below Little Goose Dam: Snake River from Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the rock and concrete area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (includes the walkway area locally known as "the Wall" in front of the juvenile collection facility);

B) Clarkston: Snake River from the downstream edge of the large power lines crossing the Snake River (just upstream from West Evans Road on the south shore) upstream about 3.5 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA / ID boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).

Reason for action: Spring Chinook salmon returns to the Clearwater River are lower than predicted in preseason estimates. In order to protect hatchery brood stock needs within the Clearwater, WDFW is closing the Clarkston area of the Snake River (see area B above), as it is adjacent to the mouth of the Clearwater. 

Additional information:

Salmon: Section B (Clarkston): Closed.

Salmon: Section A (Little Goose): Open on Tuesdays and Fridays until further notice. Daily limit 4, of which up to 1 may be an adult; min. size 12 inches. Only hatchery Chinook, as evidenced by a clipped adipose fin with a healed scar, may be retained. Release all other salmon. Any chinook over 24 inches is considered an adult.

When the Snake River opens for steelhead fishing on May 23, salmon fishing remains open only on Tuesdays and Fridays. On these days, anglers may not continue to fish for salmon or steelhead once the adult salmon daily limit has been retained.

Anglers fishing for Chinook salmon must use barbless hooks. A night closure is in effect while fishing for salmon. Anglers cannot remove any Chinook salmon or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit.

WDFW will monitor this fishery and the returns of spring Chinook throughout the season and may close the fishery at any time due to harvest levels, impacts to fish listed under the Endangered Species Act, in-season run adjustments, or a combination of these things. Please continue to check emergency rules if you are planning to fish for spring Chinook in the Snake River.

Anglers are reminded to refer to the 2019/2020 Fishing in Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other regulations, including safety closures, closed waters, etc.

Information contact: Jeremy Trump, District 3 Fish Biologist (509) 382-1005

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