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Low 2017 Columbia Steelhead Forecast Out

by Andy Walgamott
Northwest Sportsman, September 10, 2017

Brutal forecast for Columbia-Snake steelhead and steelheaders this year.

Graphic: Idaho Bound Steelhead over Bonneville Dam 2010-2017 With impacts on Endangered Species Act-listed wild steelhead of both stocks limited to 2 percent, that leaves just 22 B-run nates available as incidental mortalities during nontribal recreational and commercial fisheries from the mouth of the Columbia on up the Snake into Idaho, according to fisheries biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver.

Allen Thomas at The Columbian, who broke the news, calls out a few of the most popular waters likely to be impacted by "significant restraints," including "Drano Lake, the mouth of the Deschutes River and the John Day River arm."

The Columbia hasn't seen such a low summer steelhead return since 1979, when 112,383 were counted at Bonneville between April 1 and October 31.

This year's forecast specifically calls for 112,100 A-runs (79,100 hatchery, 33,000 wild) and 7,300 B-runs (6,200 hatchery, 1,100 wild).

The former stock "did very poorly" at sea in 2016, according to Hymer, while the latter would have been in the North Pacific during The Blob years.

It all will make for some "interesting discussions," in Hymer's words, at this week's three Eastern Washington meetings on 2017 salmon seasons.

Those are scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday in Wenatchee, Clarkston and Kennewick.

For times and locations, see this WDFW press release.

Related Pages:
Fisheries Managers Forecast 'Unprecedentedly Low' Summer Steelhead by George Plaven, East Oregonian, 5/22/17

Andy Walgamott
Low 2017 Columbia Steelhead Forecast Out
Northwest Sportsman, September 10, 2017

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