The Chinook Salmon runs in the Lower Columbia are slower than they should be right now. The salmon are counted every day at the Bonneville Dam as they make their annual run up the Columbia River, and they are not showing up in the numbers they should be. Both Washington State and Oregon have opened the river to fishing a handful of times since early March.
According to the Chinook Observer, “… the passage of the prized Chinook at Bonneville Dam was just 23.2 percent of the 10-year average on May 5. This was an improvement, as it was only 12 percent as of May 1.
According to a two-state Columbia River Compact Spring Fishery Update released May 1, the combined season kept catch through April 28 was estimated at 1,676 adult spring Chinook from 31,707 angler trips.”
But there is hope, “As of April 23, passage was just 1,250 fish, the second lowest in the last 10 years and only 6 percent of the 10-year average (2009-2018) of 22,499 for that date. On average, 9.7 percent of the run passed Bonneville Dam by April 23.
The May 5 update said that passage was 18,007 fish, compared to the 10-year average of 77,655. The jack count stood at 304 on May 1, less than a tenth of the 10-year average of 3,113. The return of jacks — immature salmon that return before their time — is traditionally viewed as a leading indicator of the strength of the following year’s run of adults.”
Although it’s not totally unusual for the salmon to arrive later than usual, according to other reports from commercial anglers, their numbers of Chinooks have also been lower than usual.
Source: Chinook Observer.