The first endangered sockeye salmon returned to the Redfish Lake Creek trap Aug. 2, later by nearly a week than the first that led the way last year and in 2017, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Forecasts for upriver steelhead, those that pass Bonneville Dam with many heading to the Snake River, are lower this year and less than 50 percent of the 10-year average.
Although a “lot” of sockeye salmon are passing Ice Harbor Dam, the first dam the fish encounter when migrating up the Snake River, few are passing upstream dams, according to Claire McGrath of NOAA Fisheries.
Following up on a Phase 1 investigation of fish passage and reintroduction of salmon and steelhead upstream of Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams that was completed last month by the Upper Columbia United Tribes, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council this week approved a letter asking the Independent Scientific Advisory Board to review the report.
California salmon reintroduced to their historic habitat as juveniles are, for the first time, returning to their home rivers to spawn. NOAA Fisheries says their journey home demonstrates that fish reintroductions can successfully return salmon to the state’s restored rivers and streams in an important step toward their recovery.
River temperatures in the tailrace of Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River rose above 67 degrees this week and the air temperature is predicted to rise above 90 degrees this weekend. That prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to increase releases of water from Dworshak Dam to keep Lower Granite tailwater temperature under 68 degrees, partially as an aid to the few adult sockeye salmon expected to return to the Snake River and Sawtooth Basin this year.
Tribes will again fish in waters upstream of Bonneville Dam with next week -- the second two-day commercial gillnet period for Treaty Tribes during this year’s summer chinook period. The two-state Columbia River Compact signed off Thursday, June 27, on the additional days as they also heard that the U.S. v Oregon Technical Advisory Committee, which met Monday, had downsized the anticipated run of sockeye salmon to 58,000 fish.
The number of the larger steller sea lions searching for dinner in the Bonneville Dam tailrace was about the same for May this year as the numbers observed last year in May. However, the number of California sea lions has dropped this year.
Although the run of spring chinook into the Deschutes River is one of the lowest in years, as it has been throughout the Columbia River basin, the proportion of the Deschutes run that originated as reintroduced fish upstream of the Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project near Madras, Oregon is one of the best in years, according to Portland General Electric.