Forecast bleak for B-run summer steelhead



Columbia River officials on Wednesday downgraded the forecast for B-run steelhead to just 10,700, including only 2,500 wild fish.

B-run steelhead are those larger than 31 inches. They generally spend two years in the ocean and the bulk of them return to Idaho’s Clearwater River basin.

Initially, the forecast was for 31,600 B-runs.

As a general rule, about 71 percent of the B-run fish counted at Bonneville Dam make it all the way to Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River.

Most B-run hatchery fish used for spawning are collected at Dworshak National Fish Hatchery. The facility typically needs about 2,000 adult fsh to produce the next generation of steelhead.

The catch-and-keep season on the Clearwater River is scheduled to open Oct. 15. The bag limit is three hatchery fish per day.

The A-run of steelhead is forecast to be 213,400, down from the initial forecast of 291,000. A-runs are less than 31 inches and return to many drainages.

Joe DuPont, fisheries manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Lewiston, told the Lewiston Tribune many of the juvenile hatchery A-run fish released last year were smaller than normal because of a number of issues, including problems with feed at the hatcheries.

“These smaller fish likely had lower survival than larger fish would have,” DuPont said.