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Ecology and salmon related articles

Record Number of Chinook
Pass Bonneville Dam

by Staff
The Daily News, September 12, 2013

Chinook salmon run up through Columbia River dams, past viewing rooms, as a little dog looks on. (AP photo) Record-smashing numbers of fall chinook salmon are heading up the Columbia River and may continue for several more days, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday.

"Fish have been counted at Bonneville Dam since it began operating in 1938, but we have never seen numbers like the 68,000 chinook that passed the dam Sept. 9," Ben Hausmann, senior fish biologist at Bonneville Dam, said in a news release. "The highest number we have in our records was just more than 44,500 on Sept. 8, 1942."

The fish count began increasing in mid-August and by Aug. 27 the numbers jumped to just over 11,000, Hausmann said.

The record was first broken last Saturday, when almost 53,000 chinook were counted.

Biologists have increased the predicted run of fall chinook passing above Bonneville to 835,000, which would be a record.

Fishing for chinook is still open upstream of Warrior Rock on Sauvie Island, but it's closed downstream of there through Sept. 30

There is no way to determine how long these record-breaking counts will continue, but biologists believe it could continue through the weekend.

"We love watching the visitors' reactions when they first come around the corner and see the number of fish in the viewing windows," Hausmann said. "If you want to see record-breaking numbers of fish, come to Bonneville's visitor centers soon."

The Washington Shore Visitor Center in at milepost 39 on Highway 14, about one mile west of the Bonneville Dam or three miles west of the Bridge of the Gods.

To reach the Bradford Island Visitor center, take exit 40 off Interstate 84 in Oregon. Both visitor centers are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. While on the Oregon shore, visitors also can stop by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Fish Hatchery and catch a glimpse of Herman, the 10-foot long sturgeon.

According to Washington and Oregon biologists, sportsmen made 37,200 trips from Aug. 1 through 22, keeping 15,500 chinook and releasing 4,100. From then until the season closed Sept. 1, biologists estimated there were another 20,900 trips with 6,800 chinook kept and 8,600 released.

Chinook retention is now closed at Buoy 10. Through Sept. 1, the coho harvest was 6,800 fish.

Record Number of Chinook Pass Bonneville Dam
The Daily News, September 12, 2013

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