Big Spring Chinook Returns
by Mark Yuasa
Wonderful news keeps pouring out of the Columbia River.
State Fish and Wildlife reported this week that the three main tributaries above Bonneville Dam will see a much-improved adult spring chinook return in 2010.
The news comes on the heels of last week's announcement of a huge predicted return of 470,000 upriver spring chinook (169,300 last year) to the Columbia, and reports earlier this week about a big jump in returning fish in the tributaries below Bonneville Dam.
"The Wind River and Drano Lake experienced good jack chinook returns this past spring so they will see substantially improved adult spring chinook returns [in 2010]," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.
Jacks are immature, precocious males that return after just one or two years in the ocean.
The Drano Lake forecast is 30,200, compared to an actual return of 10,900 last year; the Wind River forecast is 14,500 compared to 4,500; and Klickitat River forecast is 4,500 compared to 1,500.
"The Drano return would be the largest since 1979 and would be a record return," Hymer said. "The Wind is the biggest since 2003 [the record return was 25,900 in 2001], and the Klickitat return would be the third largest since at least 1979."
The 2010 preseason forecast for the Lower Columbia River tributaries of the Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis is 19,400 adult spring chinook [compared to 7,200 predicted last spring].
Fisheries managers will meet Feb. 18 to discuss spring chinook seasons.
Something's Fishy by Kevin Taylor, The Inlander, 12/23/9
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