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Ecology and salmon related articles

2014 Spring, Fall Runs
Predicted to be Very Good

by Bill Rudolph
NW Fishletter, December 12, 2013

A female angler proudly displays her Steelhead catch. Columbia Basin harvest managers say next year's upriver spring Chinook run could be one of the best in decades, if their preseason estimate comes true. Their 227,000-fish return is based on the high jack returns in 2013, and nearly twice the number that returned this year.

But managers' predictions have a checkered history, and have been complicated by super-high jack counts in some recent years.

They were nearly on the money in 2013--141,400 were predicted and 123,100 actually returned. But in 2012, the upriver spring run came in only 65 percent of the preseason estimate. In 2012, they were again very close--111 percent--but the three years prior to that they overestimated returns by between 57 percent and 67 percent.

The technical advisory committee to the U.S. v. Oregon process had more good news--it expects more than 40,000 wild springers to return to the Snake in 2014, about twice the number that returned in 2013. Hatchery and wild totals for Snake springers are expected to hit 125,000.

Upper Columbia spring Chinook returns are expected in the 24,000-fish range with 3,700 wild ones. Last year, 18,000 returned, with about 3,600 wild.

Summer Chinook returns to the upper Columbia are also expected to be close to last year's return. About 67,500 adults are expected, 67,600 returned last year.

On Dec. 12, Washington and Oregon harvest managers announced more good news. They expect another fall Chinook run in the Columbia that could be similar to this year's huge returns. Tule stocks may come in below average, but are improving, they said. Bright stocks are expected to come in above average.

The total fall Chinook run for 2013 was predicted to return nearly 678,000 fish this year, but actual returns totaled 1.2 million fish. The managers said all stocks exceeded expectations, except the Bonneville Bright stock, which met its prediction.

Bill Rudolph
2014 Spring, Fall Runs Predicted to be Very Good
NW Fishletter, December 12, 2013

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