Chinook back big time on the Snake

A short fishing season for the once-endangered fish ends Oct. 31.

Anglers fish on the Snake River near Starbuck.

Anglers fish on the Snake River near Starbuck. Photo by Ken Graham.



Little Goose Dam on the Snake River is a favorite place for fishermen – and fisherkids - to drop a line for Chinook Salmon.

Anglers line up along the wall at Little Goose Dam, waiting for a bite. Downstream on the Snake River -- at the Texas Rapids campground and Lyons Ferry marina and campground -- fishermen get up early to launch their boats as the sun rises. Others fish from shore.

For the second year in a row, fall Chinook salmon fishing is open on the Snake and the area north of Starbuck is busy.

In the 1990s, Chinook salmon nearly disappeared from the river, and salmon fishing was closed for many years after the fish was put on the Endangered Species List.

But now they're back and biting.

The total fall Chinook salmon count at Little Goose Dam in 1994 was 975. In 2010, the fall count, including native and hatchery fish, exceeded 43,000.

Steve Martin, director of the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board in Dayton, said a number of measures are responsible for the comeback. These include stricter fishing restrictions in the lower Columbia River, improved hatchery practices and better management of fish passage through the dams.

Fishing regulations allow anglers to keep a limited number of hatchery salmon (identified by their clipped adipose fins). All native (unclipped) salmon caught must be released.

The season is short and will end on or before Oct. 31.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in