South Central Washington: Spring chinook on lower Yakima: The lower Yakima River will be open through June 15 for hatchery spring chinook fishing from the Highway 240 bridge in Richland to the Grant Avenue bridge in Prosser, said Eric Anderson, a WDFW fish biologist based in Yakima.
Anderson said fishery managers are predicting a return of some 1,500 harvestable spring chinook to the Yakima River.
Anglers can keep one adult hatchery chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit. Anglers must stop fishing for the day when the hatchery adult limit has been retained.
All adult wild salmon, identifiable by an intact adipose fin, must be released unharmed and must not be removed from the water prior to release. All steelhead must also be released. Bait is allowed, but anglers will be required to use single-point, barbless hooks with a hook gap from point to shank of 3/4 inch or less when fishing for salmon.
See our rule change for full details on dates, locations and limits in regard to the lower Yakima. The upper Yakima below Roza dam is not open at this time due to predicted low run size.
Meanwhile, Snake River spring chinook salmon fishing will be open on select days in May in three sections. See our rule change for full details on sections, dates, allowed days, limits, and other rules before you go.
Sturgeon still an option: Anglers can still catch and keep legal-size sturgeon in Lake Umatilla (John Day Dam to McNary Dam), but that fishery will close as soon as the 500-fish quota for those waters is reached. Anglers planning to fish the lake should keep an eye on the WDFW website for possible updates. Farther upriver, the retention fishery for white sturgeon above McNary Dam (Lake Wallula) is scheduled to run through July 31.
In both areas, anglers may retain only those white sturgeon that measure between 43 inches and 54 inches when measured from the tip of the snout to the fork of the tail. Sturgeon spawning sanctuaries below Priest Rapids Dam and Ice Harbor Dam are closed to all sturgeon fishing (both harvest and catch-and-release) as of May 1. They reopen for catch-and-release fishing on Aug. 1.
Bass, catfish and walleye heating up: Catch rates should continue to improve on area rivers for smallmouth bass, channel catfish and walleye right through spring.
Anglers age 15 or older are reminded that they must purchase a 2016-17 license to fish state waters. Those who fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries are also required to purchase an endorsement that helps maintain and improve fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River Basin.