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Tribes Report Successful 2003
Chinook, Steelhead Fishery

by CBB Staff
Columbia Basin Bulletin - November 7, 2003

The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission said Wednesday that tribal fishermen caught almost 126,000 fall chinook in nets and from platforms this fall, accounting for about one quarter of the fall chinook run this year that made it to Bonneville Dam.

One contributing factor to the record-breaking catch was operations at three dams, CRITFC staff said of the preliminary count numbers.

In addition, tribal fishers caught 14,540 steelhead, bringing the total steelhead caught this year in winter, spring, summer and fall fisheries to 20,168. The total chinook caught by tribal fishers this year came to 147,505 fish.

"Overall the quality of the fishing was good and at times it was excellent," said Kyle Martin of CRITFC. He cited the ability of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep fluctuations to a minimum at the three reservoirs backed up behind Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day dams. That made for good fishing, Martin added.

CRITFC asked the Corps for a specific elevation at each of the dams and to hold reservoirs at a stable level, within one foot of the specified elevation. However, as it does each year, the Corps responded that it could only commit to hold a stable pool at Bonneville and only within a 1.5-foot range.

Performance during the season from Aug. 26 to Oct. 11, showed relatively stable pools at all dams. By CRITFC's criteria of holding pools to a one-foot fluctuation around the 75.5-76.5 foot range, the Corps was able to do that 73 percent of the time at Bonneville, 84 percent at The Dalles, and 39 percent at John Day. On the other hand, at the 1.5 foot fluctuation, but still at the 75.5-76.5 foot range, the Corps committed to, the percentages improved to 92 percent at Bonneville, 96 percent at The Dalles and 85 percent at John Day.

By its own criteria -- 1.5 foot fluctuation and 75-76.5 foot range -- the Corps was able to keep to its commitment during the 2002 fall chinook tribal harvest 100 percent of the time at Bonneville, 88 percent at The Dalles and 99 percent at John Day. Those numbers were better in 2001 when the Corps met its own criteria 100 percent, 95 percent and 100 percent of the time respectively. In 2000, the Corps' record was 70 percent, 79 percent and 100 percent respectively.

Related Sites:
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

CBB Staff
Tribes Report Successful 2003 Chinook, Steelhead Fishery
Columbia Basin Bulletin, November 7, 2003

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