Chinook Forecast Down from Last Year
Bellingham Herald, March 16, 2011
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is scheduled to set spring chinook salmon seasons Tuesday, March 29 during the commissions meeting in Boise.
This year's forecast is for a run smaller than last year, but above the 30-year average and similar to 2008 and 2009.
Fish and Game estimates about 2,000 chinook will be available for sport anglers in the Clearwater River; 4,200 in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon; and about 800 in the Snake River below the Hells Canyon dams.
Spring chinook season traditionally opens in late April. The fish are just starting to enter the Columbia River. See fish counts in the fishing report for numbers so far.
Northwest fish managers estimate that about 198,000 spring chinook are bound for rivers upstream of Bonneville Dam this year, compared with 315,300 last year. Of those, 66,400 hatchery fish and 24,700 wild fish are predicted to head up the Snake River. Last year's return was 134,200 hatchery fish and 35,600 wild fish.
Based on those preseason forecasts, Idaho fish managers expect 37,840 hatchery fish and 19,760 wild fish to cross Lower Granite Dam.
They estimate that about 20,500 fish will return to Idaho hatcheries in the Clearwater, lower Salmon and lower Snake drainages. Only hatchery fish are available for sport harvest.
Preseason forecasts help fisheries managers regulate lower Columbia fisheries, which occur before fish are counted at Bonneville Dam, which is the first of eight dams in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
As fish pass through dams, fish managers are able to revise preseason estimates.
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