State predicting larger salmon runs
Last updated 3/16/2023 at 1:59pm
PASCO — Fishermen can expect more Coho, Chinook and sockeye salmon to return to the Columbia River and its tributaries this season.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s forecast is based on environmental indicators such as ocean conditions, numbers of juvenile salmon that migrated to marine waters and numbers of adult salmon that returned in past years.
About 84,800 Upper Columbia River summer Chinook are forecasted to return in 2023, representing about 120 percent of the 10-year average return and higher than last year’s 78,500 fish.
The total return of fall Chinook to the Columbia River is expected to be similar to the recent 3-year returns. That includes about 272,400 “upriver bright” fall Chinook that are expected to return to areas of the Columbia River above Bonneville Dam, an increase from the 254,880 that returned in 2022.
Lower river hatchery Chinook stocks, also known as lower Columbia River “tules,” are expected to be similar to the recent 3-year returns.
Chinook destined to waters upstream of Bonneville Dam are forecasted to have another strong return with 136,100 fish, representing 149% of the 10-year average, but below last year’s record return of 258,300 fish.
Forecasts for Columbia River Coho for the Columbia River are expected to see a slight improvement compared to the past two years’ returns, with just over 886,000 early and late Coho predicted to return in 2023.
The 2023 forecast would be nearly double the 10-year average and an increase from the 2022 abundance of 685,000 Coho.
Meanwhile, 234,500 sockeye are predicted to return to the Columbia in 2023, higher than last year’s forecast but well below the actual return of nearly 665,000 fish.
The endangered Snake River sockeye run is forecast to increase slightly to 2,600, compared to last year’s return of 2,329 fish.