Spring Chinook Numbers are Much Improved for
by Mark Yuasa
The Columbia River tributaries above Bonneville Dam could be in for a good spring chinook fishery as state Fish and Wildlife released the 2014 forecasts.
The Wind River is expecting a return of 8,500 spring chinook compared to a forecast last year of 3,000 and an actual return of 3,600.
The Drano Lake forecast is 13,100 spring chinook up considerably from a forecast last year of 4,900 and an actual return of 7,300.
The Klickitat River will see a slight bump in the forecast with 2,500 spring chinook compared to a forecast of 2,200 last year and an actual return of 1,800.
In all the three tributaries forecast is 24,100 compare to 10,100 last year and an actual return of 12,700.
This comes on the heels of an upriver Columbia River spring chinook forecast in 2014 of 227,1000 compared to a forecast last year of 141,400 and an actual return of 123,100, and would be the fifth-largest return since 1980.
The breakdown is the Upper Columbia portion of the spring Chinook forecast is 24,100 in 2014 compared to a forecast last year of 14,300 and an actual return of 18,000.
The Snake River spring/summer component of the spring Chinook forecast is 125,000 in 2014 compared to a forecast last year of 58,200 and an actual return of 67,300.
The Snake River wild spring chinook forecast is 42,200 in 2014 compared to a forecast last year of 18,900 and an actual return of 21,900.
The Upper Columbia summer chinook forecast was also released and in 2014 state fishery managers are predicting a return of 67,500 compared to 73,500 forecast last year and an actual return of 67,600.
The Columbia River spring chinook are highly sought after for their tasty Omega-3 laced, red-orange-colored meat similar to Alaska's Copper River salmon. A few early spring chinook return in January and February, but the height of the run is March and April.
Fishing seasons will be decided Jan. 29 by state, federal and tribal fishery managers in Portland, Oregon.
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