With a higher in-season forecast of Chinook salmon tracking above the 5- and 10-year average, Oregon and Washington reopened all the Columbia River downstream of Bonneville Dam to recreational angling for Chinook and hatchery coho as of Sept. 22. The reopening is for the remainder of this year.
A long-running annual report that evaluates salmon and steelhead survival in the Columbia and Snake rivers again this year concluded that removal of the lower Snake River dams poses less of a risk to recovery than allowing the four dams to remain in place.
The forecast for Columbia River upriver summer steelhead passing Bonneville Dam nearly doubled more than a week ago to more than 90,000 fish, with some of those fish already arriving in Idaho rivers.
This year’s Columbia River sockeye salmon passage is mostly over at Bonneville Dam. Mid-Columbia River sockeye are now moving into tributaries and lakes, while the endangered Snake River sockeye are migrating towards the Stanley Basin in central Idaho, according to Jonathan Ebel of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
The Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife have issued their annual joint report describing upcoming fall fisheries in the mainstem Columbia River. It includes a review of those fisheries that occurred in 2022 and expectations for 2023 fall fish runs.
With a lower-than-expected return of summer Chinook to the Columbia River, Washington and Oregon will close the river downstream of Priest Rapids Dam to recreational angling for the fish July 1, bringing the summer season that began June 15 --and was to go to July 31 -- to an abrupt end.
After catch data analysis showed allowable harvest impacts to wild spring chinook have been exceeded, Oregon and Washington fisheries managers on extremely short notice shut down salmon and steelhead fishing on the Columbia River.
With a flurry of spring Chinook passing Bonneville Dam daily the past two weeks, Oregon and Washington decided to reopen spring Chinook angling from Buoy 10 in the lower Columbia River to the Oregon/Washington border.
The number of spring/summer Chinook salmon adult returns produced by the eleven Lower Snake River Compensation Plan hatchery programs has declined by 75 percent since the program’s first years and, overall, has not produced the nearly 59,000 returning Chinook adults that is the program’s goal, according to a recent review by an independent panel of scientists.