Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife FISHING RULE CHANGE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

March 24, 2004

Yakima River Spring Chinook Fishery To Open April 16

Action: Open the Middle Reach of the Yakima River to fishing for hatchery spring chinook salmon.

Effective date: April 16, 2004 through June 15, 2004

Species affected: Hatchery chinook salmon

Location: Yakima River from the Highway 223 bridge (at Granger) upstream to 3,500 feet downstream of Roza Dam ("closed water" boundary markers).

Reason for action: Yakama Nation and WDFW fishery managers are forecasting a return of approximately 19,200 spring chinook to the Yakima R. in 2004. Approximately 7,900 (41 percent) of the total run is predicted to be hatchery fish from the Yakima/Klickitat Fisheries Project research hatchery at Cle Elum. State and tribal managers estimate that only 1,800 (9 percent) of the total run will be wild Naches River chinook - the weaker of the two wild stocks returning to the Yakima Basin and not supplemented by hatchery production. Due to the weak run of Naches wild chinook expected this year, all wild fish will be protected from sport harvest.

Other information:

* Daily limit of 6 hatchery chinook, no more than 2 adults. Minimum size - 12 inches. Hatchery salmon are identified by a missing adipose fin and a healed scar in the location of the missing fin. Wild salmon (adipose fin intact) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

* Special gear restriction for all species - Only one, single (point), barbless hook with a hook gap from point to shank of 3/4 inch or less is permitted.

* Night closure in effect for all species.

* Fishing for steelhead remains closed. All steelhead must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

* Fishermen who intend to fish from the Yakama Nation Reservation river bank (south or west bank), extending from the mouth of Ahtanum Creek (near the I-82 bridges at Union Gap) downstream to the Granger Bridge, must purchase a Yakama tribal fishing permit in addition to a 2004 WDFW freshwater fishing license.

* Closed to fishing for all species 400 feet downstream of Sunnyside (Parker) Dam; 400 feet downstream of Wapato Dam; and 400 feet upstream from the upstream side of the Yakima Ave./Terrace Heights Rd. bridge in Yakima, including the area adjacent and downstream of the Roza Wasteway No. 2 fish barrier rack next to Morton & Sons, Inc.

Information contact: Jim Cummins, Fish Biologist, (509) 457-9316 (Yakima), Paul Hoffarth, Fish Biologist, (509) 545-2284 (Pasco), or John Easterbrooks, Regional Fish Manager, (509) 457-9330 (Yakima).

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.

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