Outdoors

Late spring, cool water good news for Snake sockeyes


The Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River is shown in July. Dam operation on the Snake River is just one wildlife-related issue on which judges in the West disagree with the Bush administration. 
 (File Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
The Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River is shown in July. Dam operation on the Snake River is just one wildlife-related issue on which judges in the West disagree with the Bush administration. (File Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

FISHING — While the decades-out weather forecast poses big challenges to cold-water fisheries, this year's high cool water spells good news for endangered Snake River sockeye salmon making their amazing 900-mile return from the Pacific to the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho.

The fish started showing Aug. 1 at the Stanley Basin’s Sawtooth Hatchery near Redfish Lake Creek, the first of what's expected to be a relatively big run.

Through Wednesday a total of 1,480 sockeye had been counted passing the lower Snake River’s Lower Granite Dam, which is just downstream from Lewiston — about 400 river miles downstream from Sawtooth Hatchery. That count is second only to last year’s tally of 2,201 on a record dating back to 1975.

With flows that are somewhat higher and cooler than average this year, biologists feel a relatively high number of fish will make that final four-week swim up the last 400-mile leg of the journey.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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