Outdoors blog

Wash. bio updates spring chinook run in Snake River

FISHING -- Moments after Idaho announced a limited spring chinook salmon fishing season that will start on May 4,  Washington Fish and Wildlife Department Snake River fisheries biologist Glen Mendel has just issued this update on spring chinook from his perspective.

As many of you have undoubted seen at the Fish Passage Center website, the Chinook counts at Bonneville Dam spiked at over 5,000 per day, but they quickly dropped within a few days to about 2,500.  What we don’t know right now is whether another spike in fish numbers is coming soon or not.  If not, the run could be very small this year.  As of yesterday, the Chinook run is ahead of last year at this time, but well below the 10 yr average, for Bonneville, Ice Harbor and Lower Granite dams.  The next few days could be very informative about the likely run size.  The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is likely to update the run prediction next week.

The Ice Harbor (IHR) fishery began last Friday and ran through Saturday.  We that fishery to be open again on Friday and Saturday of May 3 & 4.  We had staff sampling the fishery on both days last week.  We heard about one adult Chinook kept and one lost but we could not confirm that.  Our estimates so far are shown below.  The daily ladder window counts should increase substantially by this next Friday.




Ave. number of Shore Anglers

Ave. number of Boat Anglers

Catch Rate (hrs/fish)













The Little Goose and Clarkston area fisheries ran on Sunday and Monday.   There was almost no fishing effort, and there was no catch, at Clarkston because few Chinook have reached there yet (only about 20-30 per day at Lower Granite Dam).   Little Goose had modest angling effort both days, and it was windy on Monday.  So far we have observed that they kept 4 Chinook at Little Goose during our sampling surveys.  We are still entering data and doing estimates but total harvest here might be 5 or 6 fish.  The counts at Little Goose will probably be over 100 Chinook today and continue to climb so fishing should get better soon.

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





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