REMINDER: Yakima Springer Fishery Open
As of the 28th, you can now fish for springers on the Yakima River.
The fishery boundary begins at the Highway 240 Bridge in the Tri-Cities to the State Route 241 Bridge (Sunnyside - Mabton Hwy.) at river mile 59.8.
Yes, the river is high and dangerous. I do not recommend floating the river on any personal or individual float gear that requires you in the water this time of year. Drift boats are awesome on the Yakima, which has tons of debris due to the many catches from a normally pretty shallow river.
People die every year underestimating the power of the Yakima River.
The river does not care how often you have swam, jumped in or fished the river growing up. Every year the river is different and especially during the spring when it has the consistency of chocolate milk, you can get into trouble quick.
The lower river is better accessed for larger boats by launching at Columbia Point and just coming up through the mouth. There are other launches below Horn Rapids, but none you want to mess with with a big rig.
For drift boats, you're in much easier territory and I would recommend going out with that buddy instead if you can.
It is fun to catch fish on your home river, which is the only reason to try a very hard fishery like the spring Yakima chinook run.
Remember to check your regs for specifics, but the two-pole endorsement some guys get can be handy on a hard river like this and it is allowed this year.
You're going to have a daily limit of two (2) hatchery chinook. 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.
The best bet is going to be eggs on a cloudy syrup river, which the regs do allow a "stinger" with up to two (2), single-point, barbless hooks with a hook gap from point to shank of 3/4 inch or less when fishing for salmon.
As per the usual now for the duration of this salmon fishery, the Yakima River is closed to all fishing within 400 feet (upstream and downstream) of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Chandler Powerhouse/Pumping Station tailrace pool. I remember standing under the spillway and watching chinook come flying 4 feet out of the water trying to make the jump up. Man, that was an awesome spot when you didn't have a lot of time.
A Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement is required to participate in this fishery except for "Free Fishing Weekend," June 10-11 (recording salmon catch on a free Catch Record Card is required on Free Fishing Weekend).
The use of two (2) fishing poles is permitted during the salmon fishery provided the participating angler has purchased a "Two-Pole Endorsement" (in addition to the freshwater fishing license and Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement).
Fishing for steelhead remains closed. All steelhead (rainbow trout greater than 20" in total length) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.
The season runs all the way to June 15th, which is good because as of today not one spring chinook has started coming up yet. Since April 15th, only 18 lamprey and 6 steelhead of passed the Prosser Dam.