Plenty of Chinook: Summer chinook fishing to begin

This story was published 7/15/02

By Mike Lee
Tri-City Herald staff writer

Large summer chinook returns that created an extraordinary harvest off the Washington coast soon will provide fishing opportunities in the Columbia River's middle and upper reaches.

And that won't be the last of it.

"If you want to catch chinook salmon, this is clearly the year to do it," said Tony Floor, recreational fishing coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A majority of the fish are bound for the Columbia River, where the state has predicted a run of 755,000 fall chinook salmon -- the second largest return since 1948.

The immediate attention, however, is focused on more than 145,000 summer chinook salmon that are returning to the Columbia River. Already, American Indian tribes have started their first commercial sale of summer chinook since 1965.

Mid-Columbia summer-run fishing starts Tuesday in three areas: the Hanford Reach, a section of river between Priest Rapids Dam and Wells Dam, and another section farther upstream from the Brewster area to Bridgeport.

The specific section of the Reach open to fishing is from the Old Hanford town site's wooden powerline crossing upstream to Priest Rapids Dam.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife opened the fishery because the number of summer chinook passing Priest Rapids Dam greatly exceeds hatchery broodstock needs.

The daily limit is six salmon, but no more than two can be adult fish. All sockeye and steelhead must be released unharmed as well as Coho salmon caught above Priest Rapids Dam.

For more fisheries information, go to the state Web page at http://www.wa.

Reporter Mike Lee can be reached at 582-1542 or via e-mail at


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