Columbia River getting huge sockeye run

first_imgSockeye salmon — great table fare, but not good biters on sport gear — are streaming up the Columbia River in massive numbers and appear likely to be a record return this year.Tuesday’s count of 41,573 at Bonneville Dam was a record-high, topping Monday’s count of 38,756. The old daily count record was 30,690 on June 24, 2010.And, sockeye might be even more plentiful in the decades to come.“It’s an exciting success story of water management and ever-improving passage over the dams,” said Steve Smith, a Canby, Ore., fisheries consultant who works extensively with the Colville tribe.Cindy LeFleur of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, chair of the Columbia River Technical Advisory Committee, said the panel of scientists determined on Monday the sockeye run is on track to be the forecasted record of 462,000.The cumulative count through Tuesday is 289,493. The current mark is almost 388,000 in 2010.Sockeye migrate through the lower Columbia in June and July, with the peak counts at Bonneville normally about July 1. They are an inland-origin fish, which needs rearing lakes in their natal watershed as part of their life cycle.The predictions for this summer are for 28,800 sockeye to return to the Wenatchee River, 1,900 to the Snake River and a whopping 431,300 to the Okanogan River.last_img read more