Fall Columbia River salmon outlook looks good

Anglers should look for fall fishing in the Columbia River in 2015 to be similar to the record and near-record fisheries of the last two years.

That is the preliminary assessment released Tuesday by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The total fall chinook returns should be similar to the 2013 and 2014 record actual returns, according to state fish biologist Joe Hymer.

The news is almost as good for coho. Early projections for 2015 call for a return of adult coho approaching 1 million fish, Hymer said.

Here are other highlights from the preliminary report:


• Adult fall chinook returns were predicted to be 1.5 million fish.

• The preliminary returns are 1.2 million adult chinook, which is similar to the record return in 2013.

• Lower river wild and hatchery, and Bonneville Pool hatchery stocks should be close to pre-season expectations.

• The upriver and Bonneville bright stock were about 25 percent less than what was forecasted.

• Bright and tule stock jack returns were above average.


• Bright stocks should be strong, at least above average and similar to the 2013-2014 record returns.

• Tule stocks appear to be improved and should be slightly higher than 2013-2014 returns.


• The 2014 preliminary return was higher than predicted. The adult return could approach 1 million fish.

• There were record high jack returns above Bonneville Dam.

• Jack returns below Bonneville Dam were close to 50 percent of returns in 2013.

Hymer said more detailed fall Chinook forecasts, showing counts by age and stock, plus the final 2014 returns should be available by mid-February.