If fishery managers are right with their just-released pre-season salmon abundance forecasts, 2014 could go down as one for the record books for the Columbia River!!
The forecast is calling for 1.6 million fall Chinook in the Columbia — if true, that would be the highest count on record since Bonneville Dam was completed in 1938!! What’s equally exciting is biologists think that a large component of the run is expected to be made up of 4-year-old kings. In other words, there should be a bunch of toads this year.
Additionally, the Columbia basin may get just a hair under 1 million coho (938,000 to be exact). Considering only 300,000 silver salmon returned last year, that would be an epic improvement. To put it into a historical perspective, coho runs have hit million fish mark only twice since 1980. Read more HERE
There are many factors contributing to the good looking runs on the Columbia, but what I’ve noticed watching from afar is that things relay seem to have turned around for the better once they started spilling water from the dams in the spring to simulate a natural “flush” for out-migrating salmon and steelhead. Something perhaps, we need to look at in the Central Valley (once we have some water again, anyway).