Fall Chinook Counts at Bonneville Dam are
by Mark Yuasa
There are plenty of good, bad and strange stories coming from the Columbia River, according to Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.
The good news is the 44,229 adult fall chinook counted at Bonneville Dam from Aug. 1-22 is the third highest count dating back to at least 1938. The record is the 48,817 fish counted in 2013.
On the gloomy side just 86,813 steelhead have been counted at Bonneville Dam since July 1, which is the lowest since 1998 when only 69,158 fish were tallied. Around 2,000 were being counted daily at Bonneville, well below the 10-year average of more than 5,000. Steelhead counts at McNary Dam were averaging less than 300 daily.
On the strange side one chum salmon was counted at Bonneville Dam, and one chum returned to the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery. Small numbers of summer chum return to the Cowlitz Hatchery annually.
And in the total "what the heck is happening" on the Columbia was the unusual sighting of two pink salmon counted at Bonneville Dam of which one had already crossed The Dalles Dam. In addition, one pink has been confirmed caught from the Deep River commercial fishery.
A few pinks are found in the Columbia during an odd numbered year when fish are seen in abundant numbers especially in Puget Sound; and even fewer would be expected on an even numbered year like this one.
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