Fish Counts: Columbia, Willamette
by Bill Monroe
Spring chinook salmon counts rose sharply at Bonneville Dam the past two days, buoying biologists' hopes for a strong, late showing after a long stretch of high water runoff.
Counts also were markedly up at Willamette Falls Thursday, but whether that run will take off remains to be seen by the beginning of next week, when videos of the passage are reviewed.
There were 6,177 adult salmon counted at Bonneville Dam Friday, a day after more than 4,000 passed upriver. The YTD total for Friday was 15,426.
At Willamette Falls, 315 fish crossed Thursday as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced cutbacks in sportfishing downriver.
Department biologists said they need more than 20,000 salmon to pass the falls. That number will ensure enough wild fish get to spawning grounds and enough hatchery fish return for hatchery egg-taking goals.
Managers said they'll wait until next week or the week after to monitor the trend at the falls before deciding whether to relax Thursday's restrictions (Thursday-Saturday only fishing, one hatchery adult daily bag limit).
The possibility of closing sportfishing remains in the mix, they said, if the falls count lag.
Overall Columbia River Basin salmon and steelhead forecast for 2017
Snake River-specific forecast
NOAA Fisheries forecast based on ocean conditions
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