Parts of the Columbia River
by Mark Yuasa
The Columbia River sockeye forecast will be twice as large as fisheries managers had predicted, and will allow sport anglers to begin fishing for sockeye this Saturday (June 26).
The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) fisheries managers agreed to let anglers to keep sockeye from the Astoria-Megler Bridge up to Priest Rapids Dam. Sockeye can be kept as part of the two-fish adult salmon daily limit for summer hatchery-marked chinook and steelhead.
Through June 23, 164,431 sockeye have returned already, and the updated inseason forecast is 250,000, exceeding the original preseason forecast of 125,000.
The largest all-time sockeye return happened in 1947 when 335,300 returned.
The daily counts at Bonneville have gone beyond record highs, and yesterday's (June 23) single day count was 30,374. That is a brand new record since Bonneville Dam was erected in 1938. The old record was 27,112 on July 7, 1955.
Sockeye passage is typically 50-percent complete by June 25.
The preseason forecast was for 125,200 fish including 14,300 Wenatchee stock, or 62-percent of the escapement goal for that system.
The TAC met on June 23, and upgraded the sockeye return to 250,000 fish, which should also allow the Wenatchee escapement goal of 23,000 to be met.
What that means for sport fisheries in Lake Wenatchee are still up in the air until the actual numbers of sockeye start arriving back there. Last summer the lake hosted a brief sport fishery.
The bulk of sockeye are heading to the Okanogan River with some turning and moving up the Wenatchee River, and a smaller portion of the run making the really long journey to the Snake River in Idaho.
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