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News / Sports / Outdoors

Field notes: Lots of salmon fishing opportunities for Memorial Day weekend

The Columbian
Published: May 25, 2024, 5:36am

Spring Chinook salmon angling in the lower Columbia River got an extra day in addition to the weekend of June 12-15, Washington and Oregon fishery officials announced.

Fishing from Rocky Point/Tongue Point upstream to Bonneville Dam opened Friday and lasts through Monday for three-day Memorial Day weekend.

For salmon and steelhead, the daily limit limit is six with up to two adults retained, of which no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Minimum size is 12 inches.

All salmon other than hatchery Chinook must be released as well as wild steelhead.

From Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam, fishing from a vessel is prohibited. Bank angling is allowed with hand-cast lines only.

The recreational fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam has sufficient allocation of upriver spring Chinook to allow for this extension.

Insufficient allocation remains for the fishery upstream of Bonneville Dam.

The fisheries were set within allowable catch levels for upriver spring Chinook and to minimize impacts to other stocks of concern.

Chinook fishing reopens on Lewis River

Hatchery Chinook salmon and steelhead fishing on the Lewis River in Clark and Cowlitz counties opened Saturday along certain spots of the river, the WDFW announced.

From the mouth of the Lewis River to Johnson Creek, the season opens today and runs through July 31. Minimum size is 12 inches with a daily limit of six hatchery Chinook including no more than one adult. All salmon other than hatchery Chinook are to be released.

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From Johnson Creek to Colvin Creek, the season runs today through Friday, May 31 for bank fishing only. Minimum size keeper for hatchery steelhead is 20 inches, and the daily limit is three. For salmon, minimum size is 12 inches, and the daily limit is six hatchery Chinook including no more than one adult. All salmon other than hatchery Chinook are to be released.

Adipose fin-clipped Chinook on Cowlitz can be kept

Anglers on the Cowlitz River from the mouth to boundary signs below Barrier Dam can now keep adipose fin-clipped adult Chinook salmon now through July 31, the WDFW announced Thursday.

Earlier this year, salmon retention on the Cowlitz was restricted to adult Chinook salmon with an adipose and a ventral fin clip to help ensure the spring Chinook salmon broodstock collection goal.

Adult broodstock collection is currently on track and goals are expected to be met.

“Additionally, upstream transport of hatchery adults in excess of weekly broodstock collections targets is occurring for reintroduction purposes. Therefore, a reopening for retention of one adult hatchery Chinook salmon is warranted,” the WDFW announced.

Minimum size is 12 inches and the daily limit is six including no more than one adult. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook salmon with an adipose fin clip with a healed scar, and hatchery coho.

Free fishing weekend coming up

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s annual Free Fishing Weekend event will take place June 8-9.

For that one weekend, anglers across Washington can fish for many species without a license.

Some of the fishing opportunities available throughout Washington on Free Fishing Weekend include:

  • Trout and warmwater fish species in lakes throughout the state. Visit the WDFW website to search for a lowland lake near you and see which lakes have been recently stocked.
  • Anglers, both with and without a license fishing over Free Fishing Weekend, can participate and win prizes in the Department’s 2024 Trout Fishing Derby and redeem tags from trout caught over the weekend. Plenty of prizes remain on tagged fish stocked in lakes throughout the state.
  • Lingcod, cabezon, and rockfish on the Washington coast (no boat required).
  • Shad on the Columbia River.

Any fish requiring a catch record card (including sturgeon, salmon, steelhead, and halibut) and all shellfish will still require a license on Free Fishing Weekend. All other species open for harvest without a license.

Other rules such as seasons, size limits, daily limits, and area closures are still in effect. Anglers should check the current fishing regulations before hitting the water, as well as any current emergency rules.