can expect fewer spring chinook salmon returning to the Columbia River this
year as fisheries managers are predicting a total run of 157,500 fish. That’s
about 11 percent lower than the actual run in 2018 of 177,043 fish.
fact pre-season forecasts for all runs of salmonids in 2019 are lower than 2018
actual runs, with the exception of wild winter steelhead that are forecasted to
be 14,400 fish, compared to last year’s actual but dismal run of 11,323 (the
2018 forecast was 11,700 fish).
especially hard this year are sockeye salmon with a forecasted total of just
94,400, less than half the 2018 actual run of 210,915 (2018 forecast was
99,000). Just 200 endangered Snake River sockeye are expected to return. Last
year’s actual run that made it past Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River was
297, while the forecast last year was for 600 fish.
two-state Columbia River Compact met this week for the first time this year to
discuss opening a test research level eulachon (smelt) fishery, as well as
lower river select area commercial fisheries and John Day and The Dalles pools
hearing, Tuesday, Jan. 29, did not give any indication of what recreational
anglers will have in store for fishing this year, but the Compact will
determine that and treaty winter commercial fisheries at its next scheduled
meeting Feb. 20.
the Compact does take action on spring chinook fishing, it will follow
guidelines set by the 2018-2027 U.S. v Oregon Management Agreement, which
provides the treaty Indian and non-treaty fishery harvest frameworks and
harvest rate schedules for salmon and steelhead stocks destined for areas
upstream of Bonneville Dam (see CBB, March 2, 2018, “Agreement Guiding Columbia
Basin Fisheries Harvests, Hatchery Production For Next 10 Years Approved,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440293.aspx).
will also follow Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife commission’s
guidelines. The commissions jointly manage the Columbia River fishery under the
two-state Columbia River Basin Salmon Management Policy that was enacted in
2013 to assure recreational anglers would receive a larger portion of the
non-tribal harvest allocation of salmon and steelhead. The Management Policy’s
intention also is to remove commercial gillnetters from the mainstem of the
to the Management Policy, the non-tribal allowed ESA impacts to upriver spring
chinook are allocated 80 percent for recreational fisheries and 20 percent for
commercial fisheries. The majority of the commercial allocation is expected to
be utilized in Select Area fisheries not in mainstem commercial fisheries,
according to the Compact’s Winter Fact Sheet No. 1. (https://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/FS/19/19_01_29wf1.pdf).
year from 2014 through 2018, a limited conservation-level commercial research
fishery for smelt has been set in February to help evaluate run strength and
provide biological data. Fishing has been limited to eight 7-hour periods over
4-5 weeks, the Fact Sheet says. The test fishery has generally yielded about
9,000 pounds of smelt, but last year that dropped to just 110 pounds. This
year’s forecasted smelt run size is even smaller than in 2018, so the Compact
staff recommended not to initiate the test fishery and alerted recreational
smelt dippers that a smelt fishery on the Sandy River in Oregon and the Cowlitz
River in Washington in 2019 is unlikely.
were listed as threatened in 2010 under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Compact approved a 12.5 day tribal commercial gillnet fishery Feb. 1 through
Feb. 13 in The Dalles and John Day pools only. In addition, it approved a
platform and hook and line fishery beginning Feb. 1 and ending March 21
throughout all of Zone 6 (Bonneville Dam pool upstream through the John Day
ahead to winter, spring and summer commercial salmon gillnet fisheries in lower
Columbia River select areas, the Compact set fishing times in Youngs Bay,
Tongue Point/South Channel and Blind and Knappa sloughs.
the Jan. 29, 2019 Columbia River Fishery Notice for details of treaty and
select area fisheries at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/CAN/19/190129_notice.pdf
forecasted runs of salmon and steelhead are provided by the U.S. v Oregon
Technical Advisory Committee, which provides the pre-season forecasts as well
as keeping tabs on fish runs during the season and updating those run sizes
upriver spring chinook – chinook passing Bonneville Dam through June 15 – the
anticipated run is just 99,300 fish, 86 percent of last year’s actual run of
115,081 (the return that was predicted in 2018 was 166,700), and half the
10-year average of 198,200.
River wild spring/summer chinook and upper Columbia wild spring chinook are
components of this run and are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act,
according to the Fact Sheet.
chinook returning to other tributaries above Bonneville Dam are part of this
run but are not ESA-listed. Based on the recent ten-year average, Bonneville
Dam passage is usually 50 percent complete by May 8. Over the past ten years,
adult runs have averaged around 198,200.
Willamette River forecast is 40,200 spring chinook (20 percent are wild)
slightly higher than the 2018 actual return of 37,441 fish. The 2018 forecast
was 53,820. Over the past ten years, adult returns have averaged around 59,700
fish (range 35,400 to 107,700).
forecasted return of spring chinook to select areas is 8,200 fish. Last year’s
actual return was 9,887 and the 2018 forecast was 12,300.
mid-Columbia forecast is 40,000 spring chinook. Last year’s actual was 34,641
and the 2018 forecast was 39,200.
upper Columbia return of spring chinook is 11,200 (2,100 wild). Last year’s
actual was 12,844 (1,977 wild) and the 2018 forecast was 20,400 (3,400 wild).
River spring/summer chinook forecast is for 48,100 (8,200 wild). Last year’s
actual was 67,596 (11,339 wild) and the 2018 forecast was 107,400 (18,500
Upper Columbia summer chinook forecast is 35,900. Last year’s actual was 42,120
and the 2018 forecast was 67,300.
Wenatchee River can expect 18,300 sockeye (last year the forecast was 25,700),
the Okanogan River forecast is 74,500 (72,600 last year’s forecast), and the
Yakima River forecast is 1,300 (last year’s forecast was 50 fish). All of these rivers are in Washington. The
Deschutes River forecast is 100 sockeye (50 were forecasted last year).
of anticipated runs can be found at: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/returns_and_expectations/docs/18_returns_19expectations.pdf.