State and tribal biologists on Monday announced the upper Columbia River spring chinook salmon run will be at least the 198,400 fish initially predicted. The updated forecast will pave the way for a re-opening of fishing downstream of Bonneville Dam.
In December, the biologists forecast 198,400 spring chinook would enter the Columbia destined for waters upstream of Bonneville.
To avoid overharvest in case the run was smaller then anticipated, Washington and Oregon officials managed the run with a 30 percent buffer, or as if the run would be only 139,000 salmon.
The sport catch, including wild fish release mortalities, with a 30 percent buffer could be about 7,750 upper Columbia spring chinook. When fishing closed on April 20, the sport catch of upper Columbia chinook was about 6,000.
At a run of 198,400, the lower Columbia River sport catch can be an additional 4,600 to 5,700 chinook under the variety of state, tribal and federal management agreements, said Cindy LeFleur, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.