About 8,200 chinook of this year’s Willamette forecast are expected to enter the Clackamas River.
Dams built in the 1950s and 1960s blocked 400 miles of wild spring chinook rearing areas in the Willamette River. Four large hatcheries upstream of Willamette Falls fuel the run, plus habitat remains in the McKenzie River and a portion of the North Santiam River.
John North of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said the Willamette forecast breaks down to 34,000 4-year-old chinook, 21,400 5-year-olds and 290 6-year-olds. The older chinook tend to return earlier in the run.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is predicting 1,100 spring chinook back to the Lewis River, 500 to the Kalama and 7,800 to the Cowlitz River.
Those would be poor returns to the three Southwest Washington streams. In 2013, the Lewis got 1,800 spring chinook back, the Kalama got 1,300 and the Cowlitz run was 9,500. All three exceeded their forecasts in 2013.
In the past decade, the Kalama has been as high as 8,000 in 2007 and as low as 400 in 2009. The Lewis has been as high as 7,600 in 2007 and as low was 1,300 in 2011.
In 2013, the Lewis stayed closed until early June due to the poor forecast. Only about 100 adults and 30 jacks were kept after angling opened. The Kalama did not open until mid-July and no catch was reported.
The Cowlitz had a catch of 4,200 adults and 300 jacks.
The forecast for Oregon’s Sandy River is 5,500. That would be down slightly from the 5,700 return in 2013.
Fortunately for anglers, a fairly good run of 227,000 spring chinook are forecast to enter the Columbia River headed for upstream of Bonneville Dam. That compares to 123,100 in 2013.
If the 227,000 materialize, it would be the fifth best return since 1979.
Fall chinook — A forecast for the fall chinook run to the Columbia will not be complete for a couple of months, but another huge run of bright-stock fish is anticipated in 2014.
Coho — Returns in 2013 were smaller than forecast, but an improvement is expected in 2014 based on jack returns. The return of early-stock coho to waters upstream of Bonneville Dam was predicted to be about 100,000 and turned out to be 30,000, said Robin Ehlke of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
A big run of 345,900 is predicted. The return in 2013 was 185,500 at Bonneville Dam. Sockeye are not good biters in the lower Columbia and are caught mostly incidental to summer steelhead.