ENTERPRISE - The Imnaha and Wallowa rivers in Northeast Oregon will open to hatchery spring chinook fishing Saturday, May 22.
The Imnaha River will be open from the mouth upstream 45 miles to Summit Creek Bridge. The Wallowa River will be open from the deadline at the lower end of Minam State Park upstream to the mouth of the Lostine River. The fishery is scheduled to close July 11 but an early closure may be necessary for conservation reasons. Biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will monitor the harvest on a weekly basis.
Anglers may retain two adipose fin-clipped spring chinook adults and five adipose fin-clipped jacks per day, with two daily limits in possession. 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.
ODFW biologists estimate 3,000 adult spring chinook will return to both the Imnaha and Wallowa Rivers. Approximately 70 percent of the total return to each river will be marked hatchery fish available for harvest.
Private lands border much of the area open to sport fishing, and anglers are reminded to ask permission before entering private property to fish, and to pick up trash when leaving. In addition, anglers are asked to respect tribal members that may also be fishing for spring chinook using traditional methods.
“Anglers may compete with spring runoff early in the season, but we expect catch rates to increase as flows start dropping”, said Jeff Yanke, ODFW district fish biologist in Enterprise. “This strong upriver run should give a real boost to local anglers and communities”.