Effective immediately, anglers on the Wallowa and Imnaha rivers can now keep up to four adult hatchery spring chinook. The temporary bag limit increase will remain in effect until further notice.
The spring chinook fishery has been open since May 28. However, high water from a near-record snowpack has made fishing difficult.
“Despite another strong run this year, late runoff has really made fishing tough”, said Jeff Yanke, ODFW district fish biologist in Enterprise. “By raising the bag limits, we hope anglers will be able to make the most out of what will be a rather limited season.”
‘The good news is that the rivers are finally dropping, and we expect harvest rates to increase over the next few weeks,” Yanke said.
ODFW biologists now estimate 7,000 adult spring chinook will return to both the Imnaha and Wallowa rivers. Seventy percent of the total return will be marked hatchery fish available for sport and tribal harvest.
“We will be carefully monitoring angler success and environmental conditions, both of which will determine the season length”, said Yanke. “For now, anglers are encouraged to take advantage of this unique opportunity.”
In addition to four adipose fin-clipped adults, anglers may also keep five adipose fin-clipped jack chinook per day. Jacks are salmon less than 24 inches in length. Anglers do not need to record jack catch on their combined angling tags, but it is illegal to continue fishing for jack chinook once the adult bag limit is met. Unmarked (wild) fish must be released carefully and unharmed.