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Sockeye Surging

by Eric Barker
Lewiston Tribune, June 22, 2010

A pair of Sockeye Salmon Monday was another big day for sockeye salmon at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.

26,873 sockeye were counted passing the dam on Monday. That is the second highest count recorded since the dam was built in 1938 and follows Sunday when 25,011 sockeye were recorded passing the dam. The daily record was set in 1955 when 27,112 were counted in a single day.

So far this year, 108,930 sockeye have been counted at Bonneville. Most of those fish are bound for the upper Columbia River. However a total of 3 have been counted at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River.

Jeff Heindel a fisheries biologist at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said four Snake River sockeye implanted with tiny pit tags have been recorded passing Bonneville Dam. Only a portion of sockeye smolts carry the pit tags. Heindel said based on the four detections at Bonneville a total of 175 Snake River sockeye have likely passed the dam this year. He is expecting a return of 500 to 1,000 fish. Last year 833 sockeye return to the Stanley basin.

Sockeye are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. In the past few decades returns have hovered in the single digits.

Eric Barker
Sockeye Surging
Lewiston Tribune, June 22, 2010

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