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Better Year for B-run Steelhead

by Eric Barker
Lewiston Tribune, July 22, 2010

A group of state, federal and tribal fisheries managers is saying the return of B-run steelhead to the Columbia River basin should hit nearly 100,000 this year.

Fisheries managers expect the B-run to hit 99,100 fish at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. Officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game have not yet calculated a B-run return to Lower Granite Dam but most B-run fish that enter the Columbia River are bound for Idaho said Alan Byrne, a fisheries biologist for the department at Boise.

"If the (Technical Advisory Committee) forecast at Bonneville is around 100,000 and we get an 80 percent conversion rate that is a lot of fish," he said.

It would be a refreshing change from last year when only about 23,000 B-run steelhead were counted at Granite.

Byrne said the reason biologists are predicting a good return of B-run fish is because of last year's record setting return of A-run steelhead. A run steelhead generally spend one year in the ocean and B-run fish spend two years in salt water. The biologists presume that the same conditions, such has high river flows when the fish migrated to the ocean as juveniles and abundant food in the ocean, that led to a large return of one-ocean fish last year should lead to a big return of two-ocean fish this year.

Through Wednesday 6,412 steelhead had crossed Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River. I fished the lower Clearwater for about an hour this morning and had no luck. I did talk to some anglers who have hooked fish there this week.

Eric Barker
Better Year for B-run Steelhead
Lewiston Tribune, July 22, 2010

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