Late Spring, Cool Water
by Rich Landers
FISHING -- While the decades-out weather forecast poses big challenges to cold-water fisheries, this year's high cool water spells good news for endangered Snake River sockeye salmon making their amazing 900-mile return from the Pacific to the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho.
The fish started showing Aug. 1 at the Stanley Basin's Sawtooth Hatchery near Redfish Lake Creek, the first of what's expected to be a relatively big run.
Through Wednesday a total of 1,480 sockeye had been counted passing the lower Snake River's Lower Granite Dam, which is just downstream from Lewiston -- about 400 river miles downstream from Sawtooth Hatchery. That count is second only to last year's tally of 2,201 on a record dating back to 1975.
With flows that are somewhat higher and cooler than average this year, biologists feel a relatively high number of fish will make that final four-week swim up the last 400-mile leg of the journey.
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