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Yakima River Open For Fall Salmon

It’s the time of year that instead of driving across the state, a select few know to just carry their waders and rod in the car to chase salmon on our home river.

The Yakima River opened for fall chinook and coho fishing Sept. 1. While the water is still very warm and early in the season, the daily limit is six salmon and anglers may keep two adults as part of that limit. The fish do not need to be adipose clipped to be harvested, which means wild or hatchery fish may be kept.

Had the weather not warmed up the last couple of weeks we might be in the middle of a nice run already. There was over 200 that started piling over the Prosser Dam in mid-August when it cooled down a bit.

There haven’t been any since August 28th.

Still, ignore the numbers and go check the water. After a month of solid days in the hundreds, more than 1100 piled over McNary Dam on September 3. We also have until October 22 to fish our home river for coho and kings.

Just like every other year, the Yakima River is closed to fishing for salmon at night.

If you don’t mind driving though, The fall chinook fishery is underway on the Columbia River in the Tri-Cities from the Hwy. 395 bridge upstream to Priest Rapids Dam.

Anglers may keep up to two adult chinook or coho as part of their six fish limit and anglers can harvest both adipose clipped and unclipped salmon.

The best fishing during this early season is usually right in the Tri-Cities near Bateman Island at the mouth of the Yakima.

For coho, I recommend a spinner with a rooster tail.

For chinook, Blue Fox spinners do well. That being said, this fishery has been mastered by several diehards that know there are some quality tugs awaiting each cast.

Especially along the stretch in Prosser.

There is a gentleman that speaks Spanish at a hundred miles an hour to you while tossing a Rat-L Trap lure. Same one every year, dude has his presentation down. He also knows you don’t understand a thing he is saying and he speaks perfect English. Just saying.

A Prosser teacher that can always be found on the rocks west of the sandy creek always uses eggs, caught and cured himself. I have seen him catch his limit on the hardest of days. If he is fishing, the fish are there whether you can land them or not. There isn’t a secret more heavily guarded than a man’s curing secrets other than a “secret hole,” but I have fished on the river near this dude for over a decade and I can tell you he is the best on the river at what he does. His eggs look different and I have no doubt it outlasts yours by several casts.

He shares his passion with friends and I have seen him coach several people over the years land their first salmon.

There are many just as good as him and as nice, once they’ve gotten to know you over the course of a few years. Even if we don’t remember each other’s names.

This is a crowded and competitive fishery of bank fisherman. Go early, stay late and don’t be afraid to do the same thing every time.

Horn Rapids is also a great place if you’re running back to town on Hwy. 24.

Tight lines!

TSM Henderson - Yakima River salmon from 2011
TSM Henderson – Yakima River salmon from 2011

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