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Managers Make Another Steelhead Prediction

by Bill Rudolph
NW Fishletter, April 18, 2013

Columbia Basin harvest managers are planning on another year in which more than 300,000 upriver steelhead are expected to pass Bonneville Dam, even after last year's run came in about 40 percent shy of their 381,000-fish prediction.

This year's magic number is 339,000--made up mostly of the A-run index fish (291,000, with 83.500 wild).

B-run fish--older, larger and generally headed for Idaho--are expected to hit the 32,000-fish mark, with 6,800 of them wild. Upper Skamania index fish are predicted in the 16,600-fish range, with 5,300 expected to be wild.

Last year's return of 231,000 was much less than the 10-year average of 384,000, and the lowest since 1999. According to a staff report released in January, managers think the poor 1-salt (one year in the ocean) component of the A-run did not return in the ratio expected, "which may be an indicator of poor ocean conditions upon entry for the 2010 brood."

The steelhead prediction is usually included in the report issued in January, but managers did not release it until March 17.

Bill Rudolph
Managers Make Another Steelhead Prediction
NW Fishletter, April 18, 2013

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