Summer Chinook Run Has Started;
by Bill Rudolph
The summer Chinook run officially began June 15, but nobody told the fish. They started appearing at Bonneville Dam nearly two weeks earlier, judging from PIT tag results, and their numbers have stayed into the 2,000-fish-per-day range.
Managers expect nearly 74,000 of them this season, and most are headed up the Columbia, past Priest Rapids Dam. The summer run is not listed for protection under the ESA, and most come from hatcheries.
On June 26, they said it was too early to update the run size, but it was coming in below expectations. Nearly 23,000 had been counted at Bonneville by June 25. Based on the 10-year average, passage is 41 percent complete by June 25 and 50 percent complete by June 29.
If the preseason estimate comes to pass, the run would be the fifth best since 1980, and 126 percent better than last year's run. The preseason harvest allocation for non-treaty fishers is 16,650 Chinook and 20,910 Chinook along with 12,635 sockeye for treaty harvesters.
Below Bonneville Dam, recreational fishers will get about 2,500 summers to land, and another 635 fish between Bonneville to Priest Rapids Dam. Non-treaty commercial fishers in the lower river will get 2,585 fish to net.
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 in the 340,000-fish range (counted at Bonneville Dam), about 95 percent of the 10-year average.
More than 180,000 sockeye are pegged to return to the Columbia this year, with 134,500 heading for the Okanogan, 44,600 for the Wenatchee, and 1,250 back to the Snake. By June 26, more than 89,000 had been counted at Bonneville Dam, about 10,000 fish shy of the 10-year average. Based on the 10-year average, passage is typically 50 percent complete by June 25.
Shad have been extremely prolific this year, and daily counts at Bonneville had been running more than 200,000 per day in the middle of June. Overall, more than 3.6 million have returned so far this year.
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs