More Fishing Time for Spring Chinook Runby Bill Rudolph
NW Fishletter, June 4, 2013
Harvest managers opened the lower Columbia for recreational fishers again May 25 and gave commercial gillnetters more chances to catch valuable spring Chinook.
But that didn't mean that managers upgraded the run size -- it was simply because both fishing groups had not used up their impact allotments on upriver ESA-listed stocks.
The daily Chinook count dropped below 800 on May 29, and it looks like the run will have a hard time hitting 100,000 by June 15, the day counting officially ends. By June 3, the Bonneville count was pushing 87,000 fish, with about 8,000 caught in both treaty and non-treaty fisheries.
Harvest managers announced May 23 that they were sticking with their earlier inseason prediction of 107,500 (to river mouth). Before the season started, they had predicted 141,000 would return.
Judging by the gillnetters' catch, the run was drying up fast. The fleet caught only 56 fish during its May 22 opening, and even fewer the previous week, but had landed 1,506 Chinook total for the three spring openings. Managers gave them another night of fishing May 29.
Adult Chinook numbers may be somewhat disappointing, but jack numbers were above 35,000, nearly five times last year's number at this point, which increases the likelihood of a much better return in 2014. And far upriver at lower Granite Dam, the jack count passed 16,000, more than twice the 10-year average and more than five times better than last year's 2,700-jack tally at this point.
The adult count at Granite passed the 29,000-fish mark, about 14,000 fish below the 10-year average, and only about half of last year's return at this point.
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