Sunday, September 28, 2008

Washington -Upper Snake River

 Managed by:  Army Corps of Engineers

Best Season:  Spring, Fall

Activities:  Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Fish Viewing, Camping, Walking

Things to Watch Out For:  Winds Storms, Ticks in spring, Rattlesnakes spring and fall, Intense sun in summer

Narrative:  The lower Snake River was written up in the first guidebook published over two centuries ago.  While Lewis and Clark's guidebook has been republished many times, the lower Snake River country they traveled over in the early 1800's is virtually unknown today.

Yes, it is the site of the four infamous Snake River dams environmentalists have been trying to remove for well over two decades.  The dams are "run of the river dams", meaning no lake is created, and have little impact on the scenic qualities of the area.  Except for a few roads and powerlines, the area appears much like it did when Lewis and Clark crossed the area two hundred years ago.

The grass and sage habitat of the lower Snake is typical of much of the eastern Washington landscape. It offers a special beauty all of its own.  If you are partial to the color green, plan on visiting here in April or May.  The early spring is also the time the wildflowers will be blooming in the area.

Fishing in the big draw in this area.  You can fish for virtually every game fish found in North America.  Steelhead, Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Sturgeon, Perch, Large and Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Crappie, Channel Catfish and Walleye.  You can even get paid for catching fish!!  The Bonneville Power Administration will pay $4-$8 for each Northern Pikeminnow (previously known as squawfish).  The fishing is very good, but check for best times throughout the year since many of the fish are migratory and in the Snake River system for only short periods of time.

Hunting is also a big draw in the fall.  Good deer and upland bird hunting mixed with lots of public land and "feel free to hunt" signs on private lands make this one of the premier hunting areas in Washington State.

You can find all sorts of boats on the Snake River.  Small canoes, kayaks and houseboats ply these waters.  The most common boat in the jet boat or "sled".  If you are in a small boat, keep an eye out for windstorms.  The wind can come up and blow at 50 MPH.  Boating can be quite an adventure at these times.