FISHING: Another strong fall chinook run forecast on Columbia

Staff reportDecember 22, 2013 

After an amazing run of fall chinook in the Columbia River, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon expect the 2014 fall run to be similar in size.

In their 2013 forecasts, fish biologists predicted the total fall chinook return to the Columbia to be 677,900 adults. The actual total returns exceeded 1.2 million chinook.

An assessment showed all stocks appear to have exceeded expectations except the Bonneville bright stock, which came in as predicted. Both bright and tule stock jack returns also were above average.

Looking ahead to next year, biologist believe the bright stocks should be strong again, above average and similar in number to 2013. Tule stocks appear to be less than average, but improving. The total return may be similar to 2013 actual returns.

As for coho, the 2013 return was less than the predicted 433,600 fish. But the 2014 outlook is improved, in part because jack returns were much improved over the last few years.

The shad run this year was estimate at 4 million fish, well above the 10-year average of 2.9 million fish. Another strong run is expected in 2014.

There was some good news for smelt. The 2013 run was “apparently very good,” according to the report. Larval sampling showed the third best results in the last 18 years. Another strong run is expected next year. Smelt fishing remains closed, however, on the Columbia and its tributaries.

Also in this latest report, the Cowlitz River is expected to see a chinook return less than this year. The 2013 forecast called for a return of 5,500 chinook, but the actual run was 9,500 fish. The 2014 forecast calls for a run of 7,800 fish.

On the Lewis River, the 2013 forecast was 1,600 adult chinook, while the actual return was 1,800 fish. The 2014 prediction is a return of 1,100 fish.

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