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Fish Managers Predict
Monster Spring Chinook Run for 2004

by Bill Rudolph
NW Fishletter, January 16, 2004

The technical advisory committee handling Columbia Basin salmon-harvest issues has released its pre-season prediction of returns for 2004, and it's another jaw-dropper. The managers predict an upriver chinook run of nearly 361,000 fish (counted to the mouth of the river). That's far beyond the 2003 run of 209,000 fish, which was 44 percent higher than TAC's pre-season estimate last year.

Washington Fish and Wildlife Department harvest manager Joe Hymer said the overall 2004 upriver Columbia run is likely to be second only to 2001's record-setting 416,000-fish return. The 10-year average run size for the upriver springers at Bonneville Dam is about 123,000 fish.

Hymer said his agency thinks that about 340,000 fish will be two-ocean adults--fish that spend two years in the ocean before returning to the river. But others say that the run size could be even higher if the three-ocean component from the 2001 outmigration returns at a rate comparable to that observed this year.

The news is good for Idaho as well. The TAC estimated that nearly 170,000 springers will return to the Snake River, close to 2001's record run and well above the 2003 run of 107,000 fish. About 46,000 wild spring-summer chinook listed under the Endangered Species Act are also expected to return to the Snake. -B. R.

Bill Rudolph
Fish Managers Predict Monster Spring Chinook Run for 2004
NW Fishletter, January 16, 2004

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