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Officials Upgrade B-run

by Eric Barker
Lewiston Tribune, October 14, 2010

Fish managers adjust their prediction, meaning more (and possibly bigger) steelhead are on their way here

The Clearwater River opens to catch-and-keep steelhead fishing Friday and it looks as though it should be a good year for the fish coveted for their size and fighting ability.

At last report, salmon and steelhead managers in the Columbia River Basin predicted about 71,000 B-run steelhead would return to the mouth of the Columbia River. The large majority of those fish, which generally spend two to three years in the ocean, are bound for the Clearwater River Basin. A small number return to places like the South Fork and Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

The B-run forecast has bounced around this fall and summer. Salmon and steelhead managers originally called for a return of about 91,000 fish. At one point they said the run would only reach about 51,000. But that was quickly retracted and replaced with a forecast of 61,000. Last week, the forecast was bumped to 71,000.

That is a vast improvement over last year when 30,000 to 40,000 fish returned.

Most fish in the B-run average about 12 pounds and are 32 inches long. But it's not unheard of for some fish to reach 40 inches in length and push past 20 pounds. The B-run is much smaller than the A-run in terms of quantity. This year the A-run forecast calls for 314,000. Most A-run fish are 22 to 28 inches long and average 6 to 8 pounds.

Through Monday, 183,569 steelhead, both A- and B-run, had returned past Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River. The 10-year average is 137,040.

Last year at this time, 240,814 steelhead had been counted at Lower Granite Dam.

Eric Barker
Officials Upgrade B-run
Lewiston Tribune, October 14, 2010

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