Columbia Summer Chinook,
by Bill Rudolph
Columbia Basin harvest managers have bumped up their summer forecasts twice since July 1 when they downgraded the summer Chinook run to 60,000 fish from the preseason estimate of 73,500 (to river mouth). By June 29, the summer run is usually about 50 percent complete, when counted at Bonneville Dam. This year, that count was just above 32,000 Chinook.
On July 8, they bumped the upper Columbia summer Chinook forecast up to 64,000, and the sockeye forecast to 165,000.
This week, they pushed the summer Chinook run up another thousand fish to 65,000 and the sockeye to 179,000, which had been downgraded earlier to 155,000 fish from the preseason 180,500. The halfway point in the return is usually around June 25. About 80,000 sockeye had passed the dam by then.
By July 18, nearly 55,000 summer Chinook and almost 180,000 sockeye had been counted at the dam. Most of the sockeye are headed for B.C.'s Lake Osoyoos via the Okanogan River.
More than 500 ESA-listed sockeye had been counted at Lower Granite Dam on the lower Snake, more than twice last year's number by this date.
Lower Columbia summer steelhead are expected to return in the 70,000-fish range, but numbers are below expectations, so far. The upriver steelhead run, from July through October, has been estimated to return in the 340,000-fish range (counted at Bonneville Dam), about 95 percent of the 10-year average.
Shad have been extremely prolific, with daily counts at Bonneville running more than 200,000 per day in the middle of June. Overall, about 3.7 million shad have returned this year. That's close to a million more than the 10-year average.
Recreational fishers below Bonneville Dam have caught 114 percent of their allotment (2,234) of summer Chinook below Bonneville Dam, and commercial fishers 99 percent (1,713).
Tribal fishers above the dam were expected to catch about 12,600 summer Chinook, most by gillnet, leaving nearly 5,000 left to harvest in their updated allotment. Tribal fishermen were also expected to land 9,200 sockeye, leaving about 3,300 available for further harvest. -B. R.
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