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New Sockeye Record

by Eric Barker
Lewiston Tribune, June 24, 2010

Sockeye continue to stream over Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. A new daily record was set there Wednesday when 30,374 sockeye were counted. That surpasses the old record of more than 27,000 set in 1955.

In just the last seven days, nearly 142,000 sockeye have been counted at Bonneville Dam. The original preseason forecast called for about 125,000 sockeye. But that prediction was updated earlier this week to 250,000. Some think it will go even higher and perhaps break the seasonal record of 335,000 set in 1947.

Joe Hymer of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at Vancouver said anglers are reporting seeing huge numbers of sockeye in the lower Columbia.

"Folks are seeing them roll in the lower Columbia here (Vancouver) all the way down to the estuary," he said.

The sockeye run traditionally peaks around July 1. Hymer described sockeye as "little silver bullets averaging about 3.5 pounds."

Most of the sockeye passing the dam are headed to the Okanogan River in Washington, others are going to the Wenatchee and just a handful should be bound for Idaho's Stanley Basin at places like Red Fish Lake and the Sawtooth National Fish Hatchery. Snake River sockeye, those that return to the Stanley basin, are endangered. Idaho Fish and Game biologists estimate about 500 Snake River sockeye have passed Bonneville Dam.

Through Wednesday 9 sockeye had made it past Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River. Those fish have about another 400 miles and more than 5,000 feet in elevation to travel before reaching their spawning grounds.

To view sockeye, summer chinook, steelhead and shad in the Bonneville Dam fish window click here.

Eric Barker
New Sockeye Record
Lewiston Tribune, June 24, 2010

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