State liberalizes Chinook salmon catch rules

Chinook Salmon

Credit: WDFW
Chinook Salmon

— The state liberalized Chinook salmon rules starting Wednesday, Oct. 12, in the Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam in Bridgeport.

The rule, which runs through Wednesday, Nov. 30, allows for a daily catch of six Chinook salmon whether or not they have a clipped adipose fin, of which only three may be adult Chinook.

Coho salmon must be released.

Fall Chinook salmon with caudal fin hole punches have been sedated in a chemical anesthetic, and must be released. The salmon have a ¼ inch diameter (round) hole punched in the upper lobe of the caudal (tail) fin.

The catch rule change announced Monday comes as 35,000 Chinook (primarily from the Hanford Reach fall Chinook hatchery programs) are likely to have returned above Priest Rapids Dam, including 9,000 above Rock Island Dam near Wenatchee.

The intent of the fishery is the removal of excess hatchery fall Chinook in the upper Columbia River Basin.

The population is not listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Other rules include:

  • Minimum size 12 inches.

  • Selective gear rules, except bait allowed.

  • Night closure upstream of Rock Island Dam.

  • Two poles allowed with Two-Pole Endorsement.


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