The “middle reach” of the Yakima River will open May 16 to recreational fishing for hatchery spring chinook salmon. Fishing will be allowed through June 30.
The opening covers the stretch of river from the Interstate 82 bridge at Union Gap upstream to the Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge approximately 500 feet downstream of Roza Dam.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Yakama Nation fishery managers are predicting a return of between 10,000 and 15,900 adult spring chinook to the river, said a department news release. Of this number, 56 percent are predicted to be hatchery salmon originating from the Yakima/Klickitat Fisheries Project research hatchery at Cle Elum.
The co-managers estimate only 20 percent will be wild Naches River chinook, the weaker of the two non-hatchery stocks returning to the Yakima basin, and not supplemented by hatchery production, the release said. Only 24 percent of the run is expected to be naturally produced upper Yakima River fish needed for Cle Elum Hatchery broodstock and natural spawning above Roza Dam.
During this salmon fishery, the upper “closed water” boundary line is moved upstream to the railroad bridge downstream of Roza Dam to provide additional opportunity to harvest hatchery chinook. Retention of trout (size 12 to 20 inches with a daily limit of two) and other game fish is prohibited until the new, statewide river season opener on June 6. Fishing for steelhead remains closed.
The daily limit for salmon is two hatchery chinook. The minimum size is 12 inches. Hatchery salmon are identified by a missing adipose fin and a healed scar in the location of the missing fin. Wild salmon must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.
Anglers can use only one single-point, barbless hook with a hook gap from point to shank of 3/4 inch or less. The use of bait is allowed. A night closure in effect for all species.