Prospects good for Cowlitz spring chinook run

The state continues to roll out salmon run data and forecasts, including spring chinook information for the Cowlitz, Lewis and Kalama rivers.

After a good spring season on the Cowlitz, with the 2014 run reaching 10,500 chinook (7,800 fish were forecast in 2014), the forecast calls for an improvement in 2015. The forecast calls for a run of 11,200 spring chinook, which is higher than the recent 5-year actual return average.

On the Kalama, if the 2015 forecast of 1,900 spring chinook holds true, it would be the largest return since 2007. The 2014 forecast was just 500 fish, with an actual return of 1,000 fish.

On the Lewis, fish biologists with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife are expecting similar numbers. In 2014, the forecast was 1,100 springers, with an actual run of 1,500 fish. The forecast for next spring is 1,100 fish again.

Here is a look at some of the other runs:

COLUMBIA UPRIVER SPRING CHINOOK: The return of 242,600 adult fish was 107 percent of the forecast return of 227,000 fish. The forecast calls for a run of 232,500 fish. If that is accurate, it would be the sixth highest return since 1979.

WENATCHEE SOCKEYE: The forecast calls for a run of 106,700 fish in 2015, just below the actual return of 118,500 sockeye this year. The 2014 forecast was just 63,400 fish.

OKANOGAN SOCKEYE: This run is a popular fishery in the Brewster area on the upper Columbia River. The 2015 forecast of 285,500 fish is slightly above the 2014 forecast of 282,500 fish. The actual return in 2014 was 523,700 sockeye.

These run reports and forecasts, and others still being developed, will be the scientific basis on which the 2015 recreational salmon fishing seasons will be developed.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will release all the run information at a meeting in late February, the start of the season-setting process known as North of Falcon.

The month-and-a-half process will culminate April 10-16 at the Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Rohnert Park, California. There federal managers will finalize ocean fishing seasons, while state and tribal managers will conclude negotiations on inland salmon fisheries, including Puget Sound and the waters that feed into the Sound.