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Ecology and salmon related articles

Fish Count Results Show Improvement

by Sue Ryan of the East Oregonian
East Oregonian - October 31, 2005

UMATILLA -- Visual fish counting for fall runs end today at McNary Dam and biologists said the numbers so far are an improvement over last spring.

"For all species, if lumped together, it's up," said Brad Eby, a fisheries biologist at McNary Dam.

The visual counts began April 1. A video monitor will continue to count fish through December.

Counts are conducted up and down the Columbia River. Aside from the McNary facility, numbers also are tracked at Bonneville, The Dalles, John Day, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, Lower Granite, Priest Rapids, Rock Island, Rocky Reach, Wells and Willamette Falls.

As of Friday, McNary Dam counts showed a total of 268,880 chinook, 260,460 steelhead, 69,542 sockeye and 19,591 coho.

Assistant fisheries biologist Bobby Johnson said the increase paints a much brighter picture than earlier in the year.

"Our spring chinook started out a little slow and had everyone concerned," he said. "I did a 10-year average, and when all three races of chinook are put altogether since 1995, compared to the last 10 years, it's the fifth-highest count in 10 years."

The counts are part of an annual fish passage report, which notes all of the year's counts for different species and can be accessed on the Web at

"It takes all the data and combines it. You click on adult ladder counts and it shows this year for the different species, breaks it down into subspecies and shows a 10-year trend," he said.

The 2005 counts won't be on the Web site yet, as all counts are sent to Bonneville Dam and collated first before being posted. Data is available from 1954-2004.

Separate fish counts are conducted by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation at the Three Mile Falls Diversion Dam near the mouth of the Umatilla River.

Sue Ryan, Staff
Fish Count Results Show Improvement
East Oregonian, October 31, 2005

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