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Fish Report: Chinook Numbers on the Upswing

by Roger Phillips
The Bellingham Herald, October 27, 2010

The Snake River's fall chinook run more than doubled the modern-day record at Lower Granite Dam. Counting began there in 1975. More than 41,500 fall chinook have crossed the dam so far, smashing the previous dam count of 16,624 set in 2008.

Anglers have been allowed to catch and keep hatchery fall chinook, but harvest has been low. Fish and Game last week reported 380 clipped fall chinook were caught and kept along with 190 jacks. Anglers caught and released 2,566 unclipped fish. The fishing season ends Oct. 31.

Recent returns show a big rebound for fall chinook, which veered toward extinction in the 1960s and 1970s, according to the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Bulletin.

Naturally spawning fall chinook in the Snake River averaged 41,000 adults annually between 1957 and 1960, but dropped drastically after the Hells Canyon dams were completed in 1967.

Wild fall chinook were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in April 1992. Returns dipped to as few as 78 wild fish in 1990, though the total count at Lower Granite that year, including hatchery fish, was 383.

Roger Phillips
Fish Report: Chinook Numbers on the Upswing
The Bellingham Herald, October 27, 2010

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